Vancouver Park Board orders Strathcona Park encampment removed by April 30

A newly installed fence around temporary homeless shelters at Strathcona Park in Vancouver, British Columbia on Friday, Feb. 12, 2021.  (Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit)
A newly installed fence around temporary homeless shelters at Strathcona Park in Vancouver, British Columbia on Friday, Feb. 12, 2021. (Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit)

Hundreds of campers living in makeshift tents in Vancouver's Strathcona Park will be ousted from the city-owned park by the end of the month, according to the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation.

In a statement Friday, park board officials said a new general manager's order has been issued stating, "all existing tents, temporary shelters and structures must be removed from Strathcona Park by 10 a.m. Friday, April 30."

The Strathcona encampment first appeared in June, 2020, immediately after a court injunction ordered campers to leave an encampment at the harbourfront's CRAB Park.

In December, after the number of campers at Strathcona grew to take up a large portion of the community park, the board's general manager Donnie Rosa said that once indoor space had been secured for the encampment's residents, the board would move to enforce the city's no-camping bylaw, which prohibits any daytime camping from 8 a.m. until dusk.

By February, an initial general manager's order was issued which set the wheels in motion to begin restricting campers to the park's west side.

That order was extended to the northeast corner of the park on March 30.

The statement said the authority to remove the entire encampment is granted through the Parks Control Bylaw.

The board says it is a necessary next step in returning the park to community use, and placing everyone who is sleeping overnight outdoors into safe housing in the coming weeks.