Campers living at Oppenheimer Park in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside have received an eviction notice from the city.
This morning, the general manager of the Park Board sent an official notice to residents at the park informing them that all their structures and belongings need to be removed by 6 pm on Wednesday, August 21.
“The General Manager’s order was issued in response to ongoing concerns about the serious health and life safety risks present in the park, and in light of housing options being secured for those living there,” said the City of Vancouver, in a statement.
The city says that individuals will be relocated to “safe and stable” accommodations as BC Housing has identified over 100 units where campers can stay.
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“All of the housing options are in publicly owned and non-profit run buildings, including SRO rooms, many of which have been recently renovated. A number of shelter spaces are also available as an option for individuals to come inside while suitable housing is identified.”
The park has also become a site for increased fire hazards. A Fire Chief’s order has been in place at the park since February, which sets a number of regulations to reduce fire hazards in the park but the city says ” compliance with that order has been limited. ”
There have been 17 fires in the park since February and Vancouver Police have also “expressed concern” about the increase of violent incidents in the area.
The city says it “is continually working to meet the needs of those experiencing homelessness, including creating more affordable housing.”
“This requires continued and increasing commitment from and collaboration with senior levels of government and creative approaches to addressing the underlying causes of homelessness, including the housing affordability crisis, lack of sufficient incomes, and service gaps that result in people having no place to turn but the homelessness services sector.”