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Vancouver Park Board plans to partially reopen Oppenheimer Park in June

Click to play video: 'Oppenheimer Park likely won’t reopen for weeks after decampment' Oppenheimer Park likely won’t reopen for weeks after decampment
(May 30, 2020) It's been three weeks since a long-entrenched encampment was finally cleared from Vancouver's Oppenheimer Park and as Kristen Robinson reports, the challenge now is to return the green space to its use as a public park while preventing it from becoming another tent city – May 30, 2020

After being closed to the public for almost one year, the Vancouver Park Board is aiming to reopen the western portion of Oppenheimer Park in June.

The board said that a phased approach to bringing the greenspace back will allow for restoration work to continue while “ensuring community members have opportunities to influence the outcomes.”

Read more: Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park faces long remediation before returning to public use

Parks and Carnegie Community Centre staff have been engaged in community conversations ahead of Oppenheimer’s reopening — including discussing potential programs and services and how to revive sacred items and cultural spaces.

The Downtown Eastside park has been fenced off since May 2020, when the province took control and moved campers to housing as part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Click to play video: 'Tent city encampment at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park finally cleared' Tent city encampment at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park finally cleared
Tent city encampment at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park finally cleared – May 9, 2020

 

Oppenheimer Park fenced off on August 7, 2020 nearly three months after an entrenched tent city was cleared out. Global News

Oppenheimer Park was set to undergo a “phased reopening” last fall after an extensive and costly cleanup to erase any trace of its 18-month stint as a homeless camp.

But last November, the park board said those plans were delayed by a break-in and vandalism at the park’s fieldhouse.

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Efforts are now focused on remediating grassy areas, urban forestry work, ongoing playground and fieldhouse repairs and restoring historical and cultural elements within the park.

Read more: $870K and counting: Break-in, vandalism delay Oppenheimer Park reopening plans

By the end of September, the City of Vancouver estimated it had spent $450,000 on restoration at Oppenheimer Park.

At the same time, the Vancouver Park Board predicted it would cost $420,000 to repair and restore the fieldhouse.

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