Hundreds of campers stay in Oppenheimer Park as expulsion date looms

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VANCOUVER –
An eight-foot-high blue fence with sharp metal spikes across the upper meanders through Oppenheimer Park, erected in areas already evacuated by campers, often surrounding what remains of their belongings.

The province said that Sunday afternoon, 120 campers had accepted its offer of free accommodation in one of the eight hotels to distance themselves physically during the pandemic.

“It went very well. There’s a little anxiety, obviously, from people. But we are very pleased with the positive nature of this situation, “said Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction Shane Simpson.

He estimates that about 100 people remain in the park, but he would not say whether the province would ask Vancouver police to help clean up the park if one of them refused to leave.

“The police are there to keep everyone safe,” said Simpson. “And at this point, we are very focused on moving people and doing it as part of the process that we are currently using. “

Using powers under the declared state of emergency, the province first said everyone had to be out of the park on May 9, but it sounds more like an aspiration than a deadline.

“This is a date to work on. Every day, we assess our progress, we review our progress as we progress, and we make decisions, ”said Simpson. “And as we approach May 9, we will be talking about that date again. “

CTV News contacted Vancouver police to ask what role they could play in cleaning up the park, but received no response.

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