Vote on overnight camping in Vancouver parks pushed to 2nd day as dozens sign up to speak

VANCOUVER —
After an hours-long discussion on whether to allow overnight camping in many of Vancouver’s green spaces, the meeting has been pushed to a second day, with the city’s park board expected to vote Tuesday night.

A special Vancouver Park Board meeting was planned for Monday to consider bylaw changes allowing temporary camping in many of the city’s parks. 

But as nearly 90 people signed up to speak on the controversial issue, the meeting had to be extended into Tuesday. 

A report, authored by the board’s general manager, recommends “the Parks Control Bylaw be amended to allow people to erect temporary overnight shelter in a park when they have no other housing or shelter options.”  

Under the proposed changes, campers would be expected to pack up their tents by 8 a.m. and, if approved, washroom facilities and storage options would then be arranged by the board.

Some people living at the park told CTV News it’ll be hard to meet those requirements, as people would be required to carry or store their belongings throughout the day. 

The report also recommends the designation of authorized parks for overnight camping, which would have to be 25 metres from schools and playgrounds, avoid sensitive environmental features, protect green spaces and support public use of fields, pools, and other amenities.

Tuesday’s meeting is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. and nearly 50 people are still signed up to speak. 

Encampments on the move

Dozens have set up tents in East Vancouver’s Strathcona Park after two other encampments were ordered to clear out. 

A long-term tent city in Oppenheimer Park was directed to move in May, as officials cited concerns of the possible spread of COVID-19. But just hours later, a new tent city popped in in a parking lot near CRAB Park.  

That encampment was cleared in June, which is when tenters relocated to Strathcona Park. 

With files from CTV News Vancouver’s Penny Daflos and Alissa Thibault 

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