The Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation issued a new General Manager’s Order today, stating that all existing tents, temporary shelters, and structures must be removed from Strathcona Park by 10 am on Friday, April 30, 2021.
The Park Board said this order falls under the authority granted through the Parks Control bylaw and “is a necessary next step to close the encampment in the park and return the park to community use.”
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This is the latest step in the process after an order was issued in February that restricted setting up temporary shelters on the west side of Strathcona Park. The order was extended to the northeast corner of the park on March 30.
Friday’s order comes after the City of Vancouver signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Parks Board and the provincial government earlier this week. Thus formalizing a commitment to work together to end the encampment and prevent similar future encampments.
The agreement means that the three parties involved will work together “on a proactive and ongoing basis to minimize the risk of future problems “while providing the housing people need,” according to Housing Minister David Eby.
The province said the MOU clarifies the roles and responsibilities of each party involved in securing accommodation for people currently living in and around Strathcona Park by April 30.
As part of the MOU, Vancouver Parks Board will manage the dismantling in coordination with partners. This includes installing fencing and bylaw enforcement to prevent people from moving back into the park and remediating the site for future community use.
The MOU also outlines commitments to help prevent future encampments in Vancouver. This includes the province working with government partners to fund and develop temporary and permanent housing options, so no one is forced to live outside.
The city is also bringing forward available land and buildings for housing or shelter and expediting necessary land-use decisions to rapidly respond to housing needs. In addition, the city and the park board will enforce bylaws when suitable spaces are available for people to move indoors.
The MOU “gives us a plan to follow, to get those experiencing homelessness into homes, with the critical supports and services they need to get back onto their feet,” said Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart.