Some people call Oppenheimer Park the backyard of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
The one-block park is a welcome island of green space in a low-income district where grass and trees are at a premium compared with other parts of the city.
But local residents can’t use their backyard right now. It’s become a legal battleground pitting their rights with those of Vancouver’s homeless, who say they have nowhere else to go.
Nowhere safe, that is.
Advocates for the homeless are fighting a City of Vancouver injunction application that would force clearance of a sprawling tent city at Oppenheimer Park for safety reasons. The parties head back to B.C. Supreme Court on Monday.
A similar case involving homeless in Abbotsford, a city of 140,000 about an hour’s drive east of Vancouver, is expected to go to trial early next year.
Just like the sex trade, if you create zones where those people, those others, cannot be visible you are de facto insisting they be someplace more dangerous … We’re