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Homeless determined to stay at Oppenheimer Park 0

By Michael Mui, 24 Hours Vancouver

(Facebook)

(Facebook)

Homeless campers at Oppenheimer Park breathed a sigh of relief Sunday morning as the city never showed up to enforce eviction notices.

Brody Williams of the Haida Nation said about 30 people are camped at the park - and they don't intend on moving until the homeless there receive supportive housing.

In response, the campers have issued their own eviction notice to the city, saying that Vancouver recently recognized in council that the land it sits on is unceded.

"The thing the city is quite concerned about is a couple of events are coming up that are quite big," Williams said.

"The Union Gospel Mission barbecue and the Powell Street Festival."

He said arrangements have already been made with festival organizers so it can still set up - the tents will move to the side, but they've asked that a cedar longhouse the homeless has constructed in the park should remain. Williams said he'll speak with the UGM on Monday.

Vancouver Coun. Kerry Jang said city staff have been monitoring the situation since Friday.

"We're making sure right now that anybody who's legitimately in need - someone who's homeless or in real bad shape - are provided a safe place to stay, so we've opened some up shelter beds," he said. 

A city spokesperson said in a statement that the municipality is working with BC Housing to open a shelter at 320 Alexander St., where food, showers and laundry will be available.

The statement added the municipality has a number of initiatives ongoing to eliminate street homelessness.

"In the meantime, the city supports the right to gather and carry out peaceful protest, however, our parks are there for the enjoyment of everyone and we are requesting that the structures be removed from Oppenheimer Park."

 

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