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Vancouver Park Board planning to temporarily move CRAB Park residents for clean-up

The tent city at CRAB Park in Vancouver is seen in March 2023. (CTV) The tent city at CRAB Park in Vancouver is seen in March 2023. (CTV)
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The Vancouver Park Board says it’s planning to temporarily relocate unhoused people living at CRAB Park as part of a clean-up effort.

“The space down at CRAB Park is not safe,” board chair, Brennan Bastyovanzsky told CTV News.

“There’s a collection of debris, very unsanitary conditions,” he continued.

Bastyovanzsky says a date for the clean-up has not been set, but says when it does happen it will take about a week.

He says plans were in place to do it in December or January but those were scrapped due to harsh weather conditions.

Unhoused people have been living at the park since the spring of 2021 and the park board initially enforced a bylaw that forces people to take down tents or temporary structures every morning.

However, in January of 2022, a B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled that the park board could no longer enforce it due to a lack of space at Vancouver shelters.

Bastyovanzsky says people will have to temporarily move to a different part of the park. If other shelter is available, it will be offered to people who want to or are able to access it.

“Out of the 30 that are down there on any given night, about three-quarters of them said they would accept housing,” said Bastyovanzsky.

“So we do need the city and the province to step up to find a solution to that,”

He says this is not a decampment.

“Everyone that’s down there, doesn’t want to be down there,” Bastyovanzsky said.

“But if we move them and they don’t have a place to go, they’d end up in another park, or (on) Hastings (Street),” he said.

Athena Pranteau, who used to live at the park before finding housing, has since returned to volunteer.

She says many people still sheltering there are worried about this latest development.

“The trust levels between the parks people, the park rangers and the people that are here, it’s not very great,” she said.

“They’re just kind of seen as bullies,”

Pranteau also highlights that the portion of the park they’ll be moved to falls outside of the designated zone where people are allowed to camp 24/7, saying there are fears the park board could be acting in bad faith and that a bylaw crackdown could be coming.

“I feel like it’s a tactic, it’s a game to them,” she said.

In a statement, a park board spokesperson told CTV News the city plans to set up a temporary area where people will be able to stay, for a "one week period," without having to worry about bylaw enforcement.

Correction

A previous version of this story reported that the city would not be enforcing its parks control bylaw in CRAB Park during the cleanup effort. A spokesperson clarified that the plan "under consideration" as of March 1 was to create a temporary area where people would not be subject to bylaw enforcement. 

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