Fences are up and tents have been removed from the middle of a public park in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, but despite what some may believe, the move is not a strategy to clear homeless campers out of the area.
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A Vancouver Park Board (VPB) spokesperson told Daily Hive that city officials, along with first responders and law enforcement, “have been notifying the campers for over a week that field renovation work would begin on April 24 and at that during that time they would be asked to relocate to the sides of the park.”
The campers were asked to remove their belongings from the infield and move to the sides of the park, they explained.
“The majority of campers were cooperative but staff did encounter several individuals that required the assistance of VPD,” the spokesperson said.
According to the VPB, the work being done involved fencing off the baseball field and medicine garden.
“Those areas were aerified (holes punched in the ground to get air into the soil), overseeded with fresh grass seed, and fertilized,” they said.
The fence will stay in place until mid-June and be removed before the National Indigenous Celebration planned for June 16, 2019.
“This is a challenging site and staff are sensitive to the plight of those less fortunate,” the spokesperson said. “The intention is to restore a healthy green turf area for all park users in the community to enjoy.”