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B.C. Supreme Court rules tent city campers have 3 days to leave

"Where will people go? "
Hinkson says allowing campers to stay on the port's land would lead to the same health and safety concerns seen at Oppenheimer. Photo: @ewok1cat / Twitter

The B.C. Supreme Court has granted an injunction against a tent city set up in a parking lot owned by the Port of Vancouver. 

Almost one week after hundreds of homeless people were cleared from Oppenheimer Park in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside in mid-May, the new tent city continued to expand in the parking lot near Crab Park.

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson ruled on Wednesday that campers at Crab Park have three days to pack up their belongings and leave the property, but he did not include an enforcement order.

Hinkson says allowing campers to stay on the port's land would lead to the same health and safety concerns seen at Oppenheimer.

In an email, Danielle Jang, Media Relations Advisor for the Port of Vancouver, tells Vancouver Is Awesome that, "Regarding the injunction, we are in contact with local police authorities to assess next steps."

Back in April, the B.C. government unveiled a plan to move close to 700 homeless people from camps in Vancouver and Victoria into hotels, motels and community centres. Under the Emergency Program Act, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth ordered that all residents of Oppenheimer Tent City evacuate the park by noon on May 9. This order was said to promote health and safety of residents, visitors, health workers, and support workers from COVID-19.

However, not all of the former Oppenheimer campers felt that the move served their best interests. A few of them state that many homeless people have been negatively affected by the move, while others say they were bumped off the housing list.

Tent city liaison Chrissy Brett tells V.I.A. in a phone call that the tent city near Crab Park is one of the few places homeless people can safely go without danger of daily street sweeps destroying or removing their belongings or being moved along each day and having to carry all their belongings. 

"Where will people go? There's no housing attachment to this order and people will just be sent back out to the streets or alleys," Brett said in an interview with the Canadian Press. 

Estimates vary, but the tent city has grown substantially since it first emerged in the parking lot. According to Red Braid Alliance, there are currently 82 tents and 100 residents in the encampment.

The ruling notes that housing was made available to people living at CRAB Park when they were part of the Oppenheimer encampment.

- With files from the Canadian Press.

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