Vancouver police were called to Strathcona Park on Sunday morning to keep the peace as a group of people arrived to heckle the city crews that were dismantling a now-emptied homeless camp.
Police say a group of about 20 people came to the fence on the east side of the park around 10 a.m. and began disrupting staff, including throwing trash and heavy objects at them.
“There are folks who aren’t necessarily on side with what we’re doing and we respect that,” Park Board general manager Donnie Rosa told Global News of the incident.
“They’re voicing their opinion and there’s a role for them. We do need to clear the park so we will do that, but we certainly respect that there’s a space for them in our society.”
Crews were busy with heavy equipment Sunday clearing abandoned tents, built structures and other items and debris left behind.
The entire east side of the park has been fenced-in and marked with signs warning that it is an active work area.
In an email, a park board spokesperson said crews had faced “additional challenges from some unauthorized individuals and groups entering the park and interfering with the work.”
Friday marked the end of the nearly year-old homeless encampment, as the last of more than 200 people were moved into transitional housing or indoor shelter spaces.
The park board says everyone who was sheltering in the park was offered accommodations of some kind.
“We’re moving forward in the way we have to. We’re seeing progress,” Rosa said.
“I’m happy that over 200 people are sleeping indoors. That’s what I’m happy about. Am I happy that we’re at where we’re at? Not necessarily.”
Police said they and park staff left the site Sunday afternoon, and no arrests were made.