'I have zero plans of quitting': VP of Strathcona Residents' Association speaks out after attack near park
VANCOUVER -- The vice president of the Strathcona Residents’ Association says she's recovering from an assault that happened on the steps outside her home near a contentious park encampment.
In a series of tweets, Katie Lewis said the incident happened on Friday.
“Someone took a pipe to my head last night,” Lewis posted on Saturday. “It hurts. I am grateful for all support.”
Lewis has since tweeted further details, saying she was knocked out and that Vancouver police officers arrived “within seconds” of being called.
Lewis, who has been vocal about the need for change at the tent city in Strathcona Park, said she was walking home from dropping off soup at a friend’s house when she was followed then attacked.
She tweeted Monday that she eventually went to hospital to receive treatment.
In an email to CTV News Vancouver, police say the report they have indicates the victim had been gardening in her yard when she was hit on the head from behind, and the suspect ran from the scene before she could get a description.
“It appears the victim received minor injuries and declined the officer’s suggestion to have paramedics attend for a medical assessment,” Const. Tania Visintin wrote.
The attack on Lewis comes after safety and health concerns have been flagged for months by neighbours about the encampment at nearby Strathcona Park, which has quickly grown to have roughly 400 tents.
There have been several incidents of violence in the park recently, including a stabbing in a tent that injured a 46-year-old man, and an assault on a 24-year-old man that the victim’s mother says has caused her son to lose his leg.
Police were also called to the park in September after reports of a man chasing people with a chainsaw.
Lewis spoke out about that incident to CTV News at the time.
“This is abnormal for a neighbourhood and it's unacceptable. We are encouraging our political leaders to step up and do their jobs," Lewis said.
Strathcona residents rallied in September, just days after the chainsaw incident, pushing for political help.
Lewis's report about the attack have already attracted attention from some local politicians.
“You’ve been a constant advocate for safety for people in the neighbourhood and people in the encampment,” Vancouver Coun. Sarah Kirby-Yung tweeted to Lewis. “It’s demonstrated over and over that risks increase over time. It’s time to move people to alternative housing & out of the park.”
Lewis says the assault won’t stop her from pushing for change in her neighbourhood.
“Also, just so we are on the record I have zero plans of quitting and I will always stand up for my community,” Lewis tweeted Sunday.