Campers at Oppenheimer Park receive eviction notice

Residents of Vancouver's Oppenheimer Park, a tent city in the Downtown Eastside, have been ordered to remove their tents and other structures by Wednesday at 6 p.m.

The order came from the general manager of the Vancouver Park Board.

"The general manager's order was issued in response to ongoing concerns about the serious health and life safety risks present in the park, and in light of housing options being secured for those living there," the City of Vancouver said in a press release.

There are about 240 people living in 200 tents pitched in the park, located between Powell and Cordova streets, two blocks east of Main Street.

According to the city, B.C. Housing has found more than 100 units to accommodate people camping in the park, including space in publicly owned buildings and those run by non-profits. Some of the units are rooms in SROs.

B.C. Housing has staff in the park to help people pack up and move, according to the city, and the park board is offering storage options for people who can't move into new housing right away.

Outreach workers were going tent to tent Monday morning, talking to campers about their options. Some residents crumpled up the eviction notices and threw them away, vowing to stay in the park.

"I can't go anywhere, I'm not going anywhere. I'm staying," a camper named K.C. told CBC. "This is the only safe spot that I've ever actually felt safe."

An order from Vancouver's fire chief has been in effect for the park since February, laying out conditions to reduce the risk of fire, but the city alleges compliance has been "limited" and says there have been 17 fires in the time the order has been in place.

Yvette Brend/CBC