Vancouver park to partially reopen in June following months of closure after tent city's removal
VANCOUVER -- A park in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside will partially reopen in late spring or early summer, officials say, months after the green space was closed following the removal of a controversial tent city.
The Vancouver Park Board told CTV News in a statement the west side of Oppenheimer Park will open again in June.
An encampment that had taken over the park for about two years was cleared last spring and the space was fenced off.
In June, another encampment popped up near CRAB Park, but that was quickly shut down through a court injunction. About 200 people then moved to Strathcona Park, but half of that green space was recently fenced off to campers too.
The provincial government has previously said it wants all of Strathcona Park cleared of tents by the end of April and plans to offer living spaces to all of its residents by then.
In its statement, the board says Oppenheimer Park will reopen in phases while rehabilitation work is still underway.
"This park is integral to the community, and we are eager to have this first portion reopened as part of a phased approach," the statement says.
"One of the benefits of taking a phased approach is that it allows for necessary work to continue while ensuring community members have opportunities to influence the outcomes."
The park board says some of that work includes repairing grass, the playground and fieldhouse and restoring some of the cultural elements in this park. It's estimated the cost to repair those facilities, not including the fieldhouse, will be about $450,000.
"Both park board and Carnegie Community Centre staff have been participating in community conversations in preparation for the reopening," the park board's statement says.
"This includes discussing potential programs and services at the park with DTES community members, as well as other work such as the restoration of sacred items and cultural spaces."