City of Vancouver mulls sites to temporarily house Strathcona Park campers

Click to play video: 'Vancouver Park Board commits to ending Strathcona Park tent city as soon as possible'
Vancouver Park Board commits to ending Strathcona Park tent city as soon as possible
More than two months after Vancouver city council approved a $30-million COVID-19 action plan to house the homeless, the Park Board is finally committing to ending the encampment at Strathcona Park. Grace Ke reports – Dec 14, 2020

The City of Vancouver says it is working with the park board to end the tent camp in Strathcona Park “as soon as possible” and move people indoors.

However, with the cold and wet weather, staff are also looking at several short-term solutions, including temporary indoor spaces.

City-owned sites include Jericho Hostel and 2400 Motel, where homeless people can stay on a voluntary basis.

Click to play video: 'Plan in place to move homeless campers out of Strathcona Park'
Plan in place to move homeless campers out of Strathcona Park

The city said in a release on Monday that it is also working with BC Housing, and will apply to the province for operating funding, notify the surrounding communities, plan for renovations and work with non-profit operators.

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“The status quo at Strathcona Park is not OK. We need a resolution to the encampment. I believe we are on track to do that,” park board chair Camil Dumont said. “In order to get there, safer, dry, warm, indoor shelter for the many people currently stuck outdoors needs to be made available.

“We strive to ensure that Strathcona Park will again, soon, be a space that is welcoming and accessible to all.”

Click to play video: 'Strathcona tent city assault victim tells his story'
Strathcona tent city assault victim tells his story

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The city has also applied for up to $51.5 million to help create permanent housing through a federal housing initiative.

While this work is underway, the city and the park board said the fire chief’s June 25 ban on propane tanks and flammable materials will be enforced.

The announcement comes on the heels of two explosions heard in the encampment Sunday night. Firefighters arrived to find a tent and wooden structure on fire.

Crews doused the flames and said it appears no one was hurt.

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Oppenheimer Park restoration costs estimated at $450,000

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The cause of the explosions remains under investigation.

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There have been countless clashes over the past few months between homeowners in the area and campers, with many homeowners saying they have been yelled at and threatened, and no longer feel safe.

On Sept. 23, a man was found in critical condition following what police called a serious assault in the park.

A witness told them the man had been lying there for “some time” before paramedics were called.

The man could have been lying there for up to 12 hours before anyone dialed 911, police said.

At last estimate, there were about 400 tents in the park.

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