Businesses call on city, park board to outline concrete steps for Oppenheimer Park encampment
VANCOUVER -- Strathcona businesses are calling for concrete action from Vancouver's park board and city council after a New Year's Day homicide in Oppenheimer Park.
Strathcona Business Improvement Association spokesperson Theodora Lamb said safety is the number one concern for the 800 members of the BIA – and in recent weeks owners, staff and customers have all expressed fear about the situation in the park.
In separate incidents in the fall, two people were shot at the park – and police are still investigating the killing of a 62-year-old man on Jan. 1.
In a letter sent to the park board, mayor, council and the city general manager, the BIA is asking to know what steps are being taken to find housing for people living in the park so that it can be returned to its intended use.
"The experience of our business members is this – they don't feel as safe as they once did coming into this community, running their businesses, bringing their staff in and serving their customers," Lamb said.
"We're asking our elected officials to listen and to hear the business voice – to consider their voice – as they consider their next steps."
In mid-December, park board commissioners said they would like a third-party brought in to assess the situation, in consultation with people living in the park, before deciding what to do next.
In an emailed response to a CTV News inquiry Tuesday, park board staff said they “are still working to confirm a third-party to support the assessment of the decampment of Oppenheimer Park."