About fifty people living in Oppenheimer Park have agreed to move into city-provided accommodation, the City of Vancouver said Tuesday.
The update came a day-and-a-half after the city officially issued eviction notices to the residents of Oppenheimer Park. The park has long been a place where the homeless or precariously-housed would stay, setting up tents and a small community.
But the situation escalated earlier this year as an influx of residents led to 200 or more people living in the Downtown Eastside park.
Reaction to the eviction has been mixed, with some saying there was not enough space for park residents to go.
An ‘Occupy City Hall’ protest was planned by Carnegie Community Action Project for Tuesday evening.
On the Facebook event page, the organizers called for “five people to gather on the city hall law to sleepover and show their support.”
The city said they “continue to have concerns about the serious health and life safety risks present in the park,” as the eviction begins. All residents must leave and take their things with them by 6 p.m. Wednesday.
“We’re expecting people sleeping in the park to continue to comply with the order and work with us to accept suitable housing and/or shelter immediately,” the city said in a release.
Vancouver police will “maintain a presence” in the park but “will not immediately remove campers” at 6 p.m. Wednesday.
According to Vancouver Fire and Rescue, there have been 17 fires in the park since February and that rules set out that month to limit the risk of new blazes have not been properly followed.
The Vancouver police warned the public to keep their kids away from the park in July after a shooting and an incident that saw a police officer assaulted while trying to remove a man from a garbage can.
Police said there were 92 emergency calls for police response to the park in June, and 87 in May. Last year, there were 56 calls each of those months.