The City of Vancouver says staff removed more than a dozen propane tanks as they ordered people sheltering in an encampment in Vanier Park to pack up and move on Tuesday.
The move came after several media reports over the weekend about the encampment and complaints from a Kits Point neighbourhood resident.
“The scale of the homelessness crisis in Vancouver is such that there are people sleeping in tents and other structures in neighbourhoods across the city — this situation in Kitsilano is not unique,” the city said in a statement.
“Park Rangers have tracked a major increase in calls regarding people sheltering in parks. Comparing January 2022 to January 2023, they saw an increase in calls from 186 to 322.”
It added that city staff had visited the site numerous times before and had been working with the people living there in an effort to “reduce the footprint for months.”
“The Homelessness Services Outreach from City of Vancouver have also attended, but the individuals have not been willing to engage,” the statement added.
“We understand and recognize that people have experiences that lead them to choose not to move into housing or shelter, but this situation involved potentially hazardous materials of risk to humans, animals and the park.”
The city said Tuesday that a dozen park rangers along with police and firefighters attended the encampment, which is in a wooded area of the park, and told its five residents they needed to pack up under city bylaws.
City staff removed 16 25-lb. propane tanks and three small green tanks from the site.
The city said rangers, police and firefighters would return Wednesday to “continue the process of helping them leave the site,” after which sanitation and parks operation workers would return to remove trash and debris.
- Rejected 5 times, divisive Vancouver Chinatown condo back for decision
- Indoor smoking: Vancouver may cast aside ban at some supervised drug consumption sites
- Women’s health providers slam Surrey Memorial Hospital’s resource crisis in letter
- Iconic Vancouver cafe damaged in suspected arson, could be closed for months
- Alberta election: Danielle Smith’s UCP to form next government after tight race
- How Nova Scotians are showing heroism and kindness from devastating wildfires
- B.C. woman wins Gloucester cheese-roll, unfazed by knockout: ‘Feels so good’
- What Danielle Smith’s Alberta election win means for the rest of Canada