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Strathcona residents to protest 'unsafe' tent city, demand government action

Families plan protest along Prior Street for Tuesday morning, signaling their own 'state of emergency' over Strathcona Park
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Strathcona residents protesting the City of Vancouver's viaducts plan last year. Photo: Dan Toulgoet

Families plan to protest on Prior Street Tuesday morning, signaling a “state of emergency” due to nearly 400 people being displaced in Strathcona Park’s tent encampment.

“In recent months, hundreds of unhoused neighbourhoods have been repeatedly displaced into unsafe and unsupported park spaces,” says the group, Safe Homes For All.

The group says an increase in personal and property crime rates, as well as public health hazards in the community, is due to the federal “government inaction.”

Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart called an emergency meeting Sept. 11 to address the growing tent city, which has seen some Strathcona residents refuse to pay taxes until safety is restored.

As the meeting’s result, city council directed staff to consider temporary sanctioned homeless camps, leasing hotels, or converting city-owned buildings into housing or shelter space

 “We don’t feel we can wait for the city’s staff report on Oct. 2 to tell us whether or not the city can afford to handle this situation alone,” said the group.

Especially since just this week a man, who had been harboring a chainsaw, chased after Strathcona residents with it, threatening their lives Sunday night.

Just a week shy of that, a semi-automatic assault-style rifle was found stashed in the community, near the park.

The morning demonstration morning will see masked Strathcona residents, of all ages, walk the nine blocks between Gore and Glen Avenue on Prior Street, starting at 7:30 a.m. 

They will be holding signs that read "safe housing is a human right" and "children deserve safe space."