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Vancouver's CRAB Park: Less than half the residents remain following cleanup

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One week after Vancouver’s Park Board completed it’s cleanup of the city’s only legal homeless encampment, the number of people living there has dwindled.

Board general manager Steve Jackson told CTV News that as of Friday, 14 residents remained in CRAB Park.

Jackson said the city hopes to keep seeing that number drop.

“As folks move into housing, were going to sort of bring that down one by one with the intention of bringing it down to zero over time,” he said.

In March, the board began its process of cleaning up the encampment, stating the conditions in the park's designated shelter area have become unsafe and unhygienic, with “significant amounts of debris and garbage, non-compliant materials, propane tanks, rats, needles, and feces."

The city said crews removed more than 90,000 kilograms of debris and material, 20 propane tanks and six generators.

Rangers are now patrolling the park every few hours to help ensure the area stays clean, according to the board.

The remaining residents have been given new tents, and must keep all their belongings within a 10 ft. by 10 ft. space.

“Things have been difficult,” said CRAB Park volunteer Chloe Wells.

Wells told CTV News some residents have been denied bringing extra supplies, including tarps.

Several residents also remain on the hillside outside of the designated area where campers were moved to during the cleanup.

Bylaws state that people must pack up their stuff in that area during the day, however the park board said they’re aren’t ready to come down with strict enforcement just yet.

"Our rangers are in there every day talking with folks about the bylaws and what we need from them to make sure that the designated area doesn't get to the situation it was in before,” said Jackson.

“It’s a dialogue – ideally we’re looking for compliance, rather than further measures on our end,” he continued.

Wells said she feels the city is trying to squeeze people out of there quickly.

"The way that the city is going about it now is just criminalizing the people experiencing it, they're not offering any services to improve the conditions,” said Wells.

“They're just making it harder and harder for people to survive,”

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