New order bars tents from half of Vancouver’s Strathcona Park

Click to play video: 'Fences, signs up to clear half of Strathcona Park tent city'
Fences, signs up to clear half of Strathcona Park tent city
Work is getting underway at Vancouver's Strathcona Park -- the first step in what's expected to be a long process to remove the tent city from the park – Feb 12, 2021

About a dozen tents in Vancouver’s Strathcona Park homeless camp have been ordered to relocate, as the city moves to close off half the park.

The order, posted this week by the general manager of the Vancouver Park Board, has banned any tents, shelters or structures from the west side of the park, effective Wednesday.

Fencing has also gone up, splitting the park in half.

Read more: ‘Not a safe situation’: Staff working overtime to end Strathcona Park camp, Eby says

Vancouver city councillor Pete Fry told Global News the move was an attempt to “shrink the footprint” of the 200-plus tent encampment, ahead of a plan to clear the park in the coming months.

Services, such as shower facilities and a warming tent, have been established in the interim.

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“This is also an effort to ensure that this doesn’t become sort of an attraction for more folks to arrive necessarily,” Fry said.

Click to play video: 'Calls for action on homeless camp after deadly home invasion suspect linked to Strathcona Park'
Calls for action on homeless camp after deadly home invasion suspect linked to Strathcona Park

The province and BC Housing are working to find interim housing for the camp’s residents by the end of April.

“A lot of this work is with the intention of getting folks into stable housing,” Fry said.

“So by sort of asserting a little bit of more control and fixing some of the issues around that, we’re hoping to see folks get indoors sooner than later and work towards our April deadline.”

The move comes amid a new poll from Insights West, which found 85 per cent of respondents in Vancouver wanted action to deal with the park.

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“The vast majority say they approve of the idea of moving people into affordable housing as it becomes available, so we got 84 per cent saying that’s the preferred approach,” Insights West president Steve Mossop told Global News.

“Only 47 per cent believe that getting an injunction and having police clear out the residence in an aggressive way is a viable solution.”

The online poll of 500 Vancouver residents was conducted between Feb. 5 and Feb. 9. The margin of error is +/- 4.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

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