Vancouver crews remove CRAB Park campers living outside of designated area

People living outside of designated camping areas in CRAB Park were moved out by Vancouver park rangers Tuesday morning.

City crews began moving from tent to tent starting around 7:30 a.m., asking people to remove their structures from a hillside area. Vancouver police also attended.

According to city bylaws, people camping in parks beyond the designated area are only allowed to be there between dusk and dawn and are supposed to remove their shelter by 7 a.m.

The CRAB Park designated camping area is the city’s only legal encampment. It holds 14 tents and is currently full.

According to advocates for those camping in the park, approximately 16 tents were located outside the designated camping area.

Last month the City of Vancouver shut down the CRAB Park homeless encampment citing health and safety concerns, forcing residents to move temporarily.

Crews removed more than 90,000 kilograms of debris and material, 20 propane tanks and six generators. Gravel was placed on the site to improve drainage and clearly marked camping sites were created within the designated area. 

two men move a cart and garbage can
CRAB Park residents move their possessions after park rangers began evicting people living outside the designated camping area. (Martin Diotte/CBC)

Homeless advocate Fiona York said people camping on the hillside were waiting to get back into the designated site, which was the initial promise from the city when campers were moved out in March.

“They all are CRAB Park residents, so rightfully, according to those first statements from the park board, people would be allowed to move back into the designated area,” said York.

“Now their tents are being ripped down and their belongings are being removed.” 

In a statement, the Vancouver Park Board said it was removing tents to restore access to the park for community daytime use. 

“Since last week, the designated area has been reduced from 16 to 14 sheltering spaces as two more intended users moved indoors. As people sheltering in the designated area move inside, the park board will continue to incrementally reduce the designated area until the whole area can be returned to regular park use.”

WATCH | City crews begin CRAB Park “cleanup” in March:

City of Vancouver pushes ahead with CRAB Park encampment cleanup

22 days ago

Duration 2:13

Police and park rangers arrived at the CRAB Park encampment Monday morning as work began on what’s being called a “cleanup” of the area. As Jon Hernandez reports, many residents weren’t ready to leave today — and tensions boiled over

Margo Young, UBC law professor, said she came to CRAB Park as a “citizen observer” and was troubled by what she saw.

“Watching the park rangers crowd around the dismantling of the tent, trying to block cameras and maintain a perimeter  of what they call their work area, and proceed very matter-of-factly and roughly to take down someone’s home and put someone’s belongings in a garbage can was very distressing,” she said. 

“To be treated in this very cooly administrative manner is inappropriate and just pushes [the campers] further to the margins.” 

York said the city has not followed through on a promise to implement an appeals process for evicted campers.

“It’s really obviously so procedurally unfair in so many different ways that someone isn’t going to be existing [in CRAB Park] and they’re being told they have a right to appeal,” she said. 

CBC News has contacted the City of Vancouver to get clarification about the appeals process.


Posted in CBC