12 campers on west side of Strathcona Park ordered to move

·2 min read

In an effort to reclaim half of Strathcona Park, the Vancouver Park Board has installed a fence and notified approximately 12 residents of a homeless encampment on the west side of the park they must vacate by next Wednesday.

A notice posted by the general manager of the park board orders campers removed by 10 a.m. Feb. 17 so the board can "remediate and return this area to recreational use and programming for all park users."

The new fence separates the larger section of the encampment, which houses approximately 200 campers, from the rest of the park.

Donnie Rosa, general manager of Vancouver Park Board, says they have been working individually with the west side encampment residents to help with the move, and the majority have signed up for housing services.

"They understand we want to return the west side back to the community and they have agreed to work with us," Rosa said.

Ben Nelms/CBC
Ben Nelms/CBC

Residents of the East Vancouver neighbourhood have been calling for an end to the tent city following several violent incidents.

Last week, police arrested Pascal Bouthilette, a resident of Strathcona Park, in connection with the death of a 78-year-old woman after she was brutally attacked in her residence during a home invasion.

In December, the park board said once indoor space was secured for the encampment's residents, the board would move to enforce the city's no-camping bylaw.

At that time, plans were underway to use the Jericho Hostel in West Point Grey and the 2400 Motel on Kingsway as temporary indoor spaces to shelter those living in the park.

In January, B.C. Housing Minister David Eby said the province plans to have enough indoor spaces for campers to relocate by the end of April, adding that hundreds of units of supported housing should be available in 12 to 24 months.

"We are moving as quickly as we can to get people indoors, and not just a mat on the floor," Eby said.

Rosa says it could take two to three months to restore the west side of the park for community use.