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CRAB Park cleanup delayed due to weather, deterioration of ground conditions

The designated camping section of CRAB Park was fenced off on March 25, 2024, ahead of a planned cleanup. The designated camping section of CRAB Park was fenced off on March 25, 2024, ahead of a planned cleanup.

Residents of CRAB Park faced a delay in returning to their designated sheltering area this week as cleanup crews were apparently met with worse conditions than expected.

In a statement sent to CTV News Vancouver, the Vancouver Park Board said its scheduled cleanup of the area where approximately 30 people are living began last week, after a one-day delay to give people more time to move into a temporary sheltering area. But once work began, it became apparent recent wet weather had "led to increased deterioration of the already poor ground conditions," in the park, pushing crews to need more time.

"Despite the delay, staff have made considerable progress, dismantling a series of unsafe, noncompliant structures, and removing large quantities of debris and materials," the park board's statement said. "We will share some summary information about the amount and type of material removed publicly once we have been able to share that information with people who were in the designated area."

It's expected the cleaned designated area will reopen on Thursday.

The park board said in January an assessment found the area couldn't be cleaned by hand. The dangers inside the camp were said to include debris, propane tanks, needles, feces and a rat infestation.

Fiona York, a long-time advocate for the campers in CRAB Park, didn't dispute the area needed to be cleaned, but said residents felt their feedback wasn't properly addressed. Last month, she said, over two dozen campers did their own cleaning of the encampment, and collected a total of 176 bins of garbage and about 600 kilograms of scrap.

"The mood is that people are very frustrated by this entire process," York told CTV News Vancouver last Monday, when the campers were moved. "There have been numerous inconsistencies; lack of information and it's extremely not consultative. It's absolutely not been respected."

A 2022 B.C. Supreme Court decision allows for people to shelter in a designated section of CRAB Park 24-7, unlike in other Vancouver parks where people have to pack up and leave every morning.

With files from CTV News Vancouver's St. John Alexander and Kraig Krause Top Stories

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