"We made a mistake": City crews caught dropping off belongings from DTES at park

May 3 2023, 11:30 pm

The City of Vancouver is responding to claims that the belongings of Hastings Street residents were dumped in CRAB Park.

On April 30, Fiona York, a CRAB Park advocate, shared a tweet that included pictures taken by WS, a resident at the park.

That tweet suggested that there were two police officers and eight City workers present “with a big truck full of tents and belongings” that were dropped off at the park. York had heard from a resident who she says was moved to the park. York said that he had considered moving to the park in the past but wasn’t planning to at the time.

He was in a tent on Hastings with his partner and the couple beside them were arguing. The workers thought it was him and his partner arguing and told them they had to go,” York said.

York claims that the person who got moved to CRAB Park was told his belongings would be taken there instead of impounded and that it was “there or jail.”

She also shared a quote in the tweet, which the City refutes.

“The [people] can’t stay on Hastings anymore so we’re moving them here… they’re too much trouble for us. So we’re dropping them off here.”

The City also provided its own account of what it claims happened. The City said that a couple living on East Hastings asked crews working on the street over the weekend if their belongings could be taken to CRAB Park.

“Since crews were driving to CRAB Park to service waste receptacles in the encampment, they agreed to take the couple’s one tent to the park. This was a unique circumstance and is not standard practice.”

When we initially asked the City for comment, it claimed that the photos shared in the tweet were from a long time ago. We took that claim to York, who provided us with timestamped pictures of the images included in the tweet.

Courtesy of WS

The City has now admitted it was incorrect.

“Fiona York is correct that we made a mistake in our original assessment of the photo. We followed up with staff members who are in the image and they confirmed that it was taken on April 30.”

The City added it would be following up with York to apologize.

Fiona wondered if the City would apologize to the resident who took the photo and for “dumping someone’s stuff off like that.”

“We’d like to reiterate that staff have again confirmed that they did not say what was quoted in the tweet,” the City said.

Meanwhile, York suggests the City thinks it can “act with impunity when it comes to disenfranchised unhoused people, that they can dismiss their words and experiences and autonomy.”

Since 2020, CRAB Park has become a notorious encampment, and York estimates there are about 60 people there.

We also reached out to the VPD about their presence at the park.

VPD responded, “Please reach out to the City of Vancouver with this request. The VPD does not remove or transport peoples’ tents or belongings.”

Amir AliAmir Ali

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