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Illegal campers in Vancouver’s Vanier Park given notice to leave

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About half a dozen campers who are living illegally in a Vancouver park have been given notice to leave.

Park rangers attended the encampment in Vanier Park on Tuesday morning, with the support of Vancouver Fire Rescue Services and the Vancouver Police Department.

Rangers spoke with five people living inside the structures to say they were in violation of civic bylaws.

“We’re here to inform you guys that it’s time to get out of the area,” CTV News witnessed one ranger tell a camper. “If you choose to move elsewhere you can set up a structure at dusk, it just has to be down and packed up by 8 a.m.”

The Vancouver Park Board allows temporary tents and structures in parks overnight, but those temporary shelters have to be packed up by morning.

The current Vanier Park encampment consists of two large structures covered in tarps, as well as an array of bikes, parts of bikes, tools, gas tanks, needles and piles of garbage.

In a statement, the Park Board said ranger teams have visited the site numerous times to speak with the individuals living in the park to try and get them to “reduce their footprint.”

“The Homelessness Services Outreach (team) from the City of Vancouver has also attended, but the individuals have not been willing to engage,” the statement continued. “We understand and recognize that people have experiences that lead them to choose not to move into housing or shelter, but this situation involved potentially hazardous materials of risk to humans, animals and the park.”

On Tuesday morning, rangers removed more than a dozen propane tanks, a barbeque and a basket full of cleaning products, glue and paint. The structures themselves will be pulled down later this week.

CTV News first reported on the encampment on Friday, as residents of Kitsilano raised safety and environmental concerns.

 FIRE SAFETY CONCERNS

The Vanier Park eviction comes after Sunday’s tent fire on the Downtown Eastside, with Vancouver’s fire chief saying she was “incredibly frustrated” that more isn’t being done to prevent daily fires breaking out in the area.

CTV News has learned there have been at least two fires reported in Vanier Park since the start of this year. In one instance, residents of the park told rangers they had tried to extinguish the flames themselves with a 2 litre bottle of liquid, which turned out to contain vodka. 

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