Little change to Vancouver downtown road encampment as residents marvel the place to go

VANCOUVER – It was tough to see any distinction had been made to the tent encampment in Vancouver’s troubled Downtown Eastside on Wednesday, a day after metropolis workers started what’s anticipated to be a weeks-long course of to take away the buildings.

That’s for good motive, stated a resident who goes by the title Edith Elizabeth — the individuals who stay within the tents have nowhere else to go.

She stated beforehand, residents would relocate their buildings close by so metropolis workers may clear the road.

“It’s similar to, ‘Okay, cool, take down our buildings and transfer down the block to allow them to wash it,’ and that’s it,” stated Elizabeth. “However right here, now, it’s similar to we have now to vanish or one thing.”

Vancouver hearth Chief Karen Fry ordered tents alongside the stretch of Hastings Road dismantled final month, saying there was an excessive hearth and security danger.

Town has stated workers would focus their efforts on the “highest danger” areas, however a number of buildings in these areas remained in place on Wednesday.

The neighbourhood struggles with many advanced challenges together with drug use, crime, homelessness, housing points, and unemployment.

It was tense on Tuesday, Elizabeth stated, with a heavy police presence on the road.

The Vancouver Police Division launched an announcement Tuesday saying a number of individuals had been arrested after officers had been assaulted throughout a “melee.”

It stated workers at a neighborhood centre had referred to as police to report a person throwing computer systems and behaving erratically. The person resisted arrest, police stated, as “a big crowd gathered, and have become hostile and combative with the officers.”

Elizabeth stated police used pepper spray and the incident left individuals feeling scared.

An replace from town on Wednesday stated a giant contingent of police on the Most important and Hastings intersection within the afternoon “was not on account of the Metropolis’s effort to take away buildings”, and as a substitute stemmed from the incident outdoors the neighborhood centre.

Town stated workers aimed to strategy encampment residents “with respect and sensitivity, encouraging and supporting voluntary removing of tents and belongings by dialog.”

“We acknowledge that some individuals imagine town shouldn’t do that work, however there are important security dangers for everybody within the neighbourhood that town can not ignore,” it stated.

Elizabeth stood close to her belongings on the sidewalk the place she stated she’s been staying for about three weeks after transferring from one other spot close by.

“It’s not like it is a perpetually, everlasting place,” she stated, though she’s undecided the place she may go subsequent.

“So far as choices down right here, typically there’s been Crab Park, which is like tent metropolis,” she stated, referring to tents arrange across the park close to Vancouver’s waterfront.

Elizabeth stated she, like many others dwelling in tents alongside the road, doesn’t really feel snug or protected in single-room occupancy buildings with “terrible” situations.

Town stated workers have been assembly every week with a community-based working group since Could, and extra ceaselessly with members of the Overdose Prevention Society and Vancouver Space Community of Drug Customers over the previous two weeks.

Employees spent Wednesday telling residents about storage choices for his or her belongings, town stated.

These included as much as two 360-litre storage totes, which workers would seal with tamper-proof labels earlier than putting them in short-term storage. Town stated the totes are on wheels, so homeowners can take them away if they didn’t need them saved.

An extended-term storage container can also be being offered close by, town stated.

Group advocacy teams, together with the drug-user community and Pivot Authorized Society, have stated clearing the encampment violates a memorandum of understanding between town, the B.C. authorities and Vancouver’s park board, as a result of persons are being informed to maneuver with out being supplied appropriate housing.

The acknowledged purpose of the settlement struck final March is to attach unsheltered individuals to housing and protect their dignity when dismantling encampments.

The Metropolis of Vancouver could implement bylaws that prohibit buildings on sidewalks “when appropriate areas can be found for individuals to maneuver indoors,” it reads.

This report by The Canadian Press was first revealed Aug. 10, 2022.

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