A group of homeless campers who set up in Vancouver’s Crab Park were given 72 hours to pack up their belongings and leave this week, after Vancouver Fraser Port Authority (VFPA) ruled in favour of injunction filed by the Vancouver Port Authority – whose jurisdiction the park falls under – to have them removed.
In his decision on Wednesday, Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson wrote that “the lands in question are not and have not been available for unlicensed public use,” and that Port Authority is entitled to the use of its land.
“The encampment here is in an urban area,” he wrote. “I have evidence of a relatively modest number of individuals at the encampment, but some suggest that the numbers could swell.”
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The campers, he added, “have no apparent means of indemnifying the plaintiff for any restoration, maintenance, or supervisory costs associated with the property. In my view this amounts to irreparable harm.”
In addition to the 72-hour window for residents to leave, Hinkson laid out a number of other terms, which included the following:
- Refrain from re-entering the Occupied Area, except as authorized by the VFPA.
- Upon the expiry of three days from the date of this order, the VFPA, through its employees, agents, or contractors, shall be authorized to remove, store, or dispose of all tents, shelters, personal chattels, rubbish, and any other things remaining on the VFPA Lands in contravention of this order.
He further ordered that the VPD retains discretion “as to the timing and manner of enforcement” of this order as well as the timing and manner of arresting and removing any person pursuant to this order.
In addition, he ordered the police “retain discretion to detain and release any person without arrest who the police have reasonable and probable grounds to believe is contravening or has contravened any provisions of this order.”