Oppenheimer Park campers have been given one week to remove their tent structures and vacate the public space.
Earlier today, a BC Supreme Court judge granted the City of Vancouver the injunction it needed to remove homeless and activists campers at the park. Campers have until Wednesday, October 15 at 10 p.m. to leave the site.
The Oppenheimer Park encampment began in mid-July when a few dozen activists began protesting the city’s social housing and affordability issues, adding that it is their “right” since the park is on First Nations land.
It prompted the last-minute relocation of this summer’s Powell Street Festival, an annual event that is usually located at the park site.
The camp’s size grew exponentially to as many as 200 campers in defiance to a City-issued 24-hour eviction notice. On September 28, Vancouver Police barricaded the entrance to Stanley Park after campers attempted to create a new encampment by the area with the iconic totem poles.
Late last month, the municipal government filed for an injunction after fire crews and police officers discovered a host of health and safety hazards at the campsite. According to The Province, this includes:
- many incidents of verbal threats and violent attacks, with weapons including firearms, shovels, bats and axes
- numerous thefts
- open drug use, needle exchange and drug trafficking
- open flames and smoking inside tents and structures next to combustible and flammable materials
- the high presence of bed bugs
- the scattering of used needles and condoms on park grounds
- buckets of urine and feces inside tents, kept over a long period of time
In response to the demands of the protesters to address Vancouver’s overall homeless issue, the City announced it will immediately open 40 new shelter spaces at 900 Pacific Street (formerly A Kettle of Fish restaurant), 30 additional spaces at Union Gospel Mission, and establish 157 units of temporary homeless housing at Quality Inn (1335 Howe Street).
Three major permanent social housing projects in East Vancouver will also open later this fall, adding almost 300 units of social housing supply to the city.
Feature Image: Court judge gavel via Shutterstock