Vancouver mayor meets with protesters
A tent city has been set up in Oppenheimer Park. (SUBMITTED)
After campaigning on a promise to end street homelessness by 2015, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson is now saying the issue is not within his jurisdiction.
The statement comes after a group of protesters, who have been camping in Oppenheimer Park to advocate for the homeless, stormed Tuesday morning’s city council meeting and secured a private meeting with the mayor and several councillors.
Though the city issued an eviction notice to the campers last week, Robertson is now saying city council stands with the group.
“People who are camped out in the park do need support,” he said, adding he plans to advocate for the homeless by asking for the provincial and federal governments to step in. “They’re actually more responsible.”
Some First Nations members among the campers have argued they have a right to stay in the park because it belongs to them, pointing to a formal declaration from council at the end of June that the city sits on unceded traditional territory.
“We’re very thankful that they listened,” said camper CeeJai Juliam. She said she would like to see some action immediately, including having portable toilets installed, washrooms kept open and for the police and parks officials to stop “harassing” the campers.