British Columbia

B.C. Supreme Court judge grants injunction to clear CRAB Park homeless campers

The British Columbia Supreme Court has granted the Vancouver Port Authority an injunction against members of an illegal tent city who are occupying land next to CRAB Park on Vancouver's waterfront.

As many as 100 campers have moved onto a lot near the popular beach

The homeless camp is located in a parking lot next to Crab Park in Vancouver on Wednesday, June 10, 2020. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

The British Columbia Supreme Court has granted the Vancouver Port Authority an injunction against members of an illegal tent city who are occupying land next to CRAB Park on Vancouver's waterfront.

As many as 100 residents have moved onto the lot near the park and its popular beach. A judge ruled the site the campers are on is essentially private property, and the owner is within their right to clear it.

The judge did not immediately grant an enforcement order, saying the injunction should be enough to move people out. 

Campers have three days to take down their tents and vacate the property as soon as they receive notice of the order. 

The order is in effect for 15 days from June 10. The port authority can apply to extend the order if it can show it has made attempts to enforce it. 

Crab Park homeless camp advocates hold signs outside the B.C. Supreme Court after an injunction ruling in Vancouver on Wednesday, June 10, 2020. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson gave his decision at the B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver Wednesday afternoon after two separate days of deliberation.

Hinkson said allowing campers to stay on the port's land would lead to the same health and safety concerns seen at Oppenheimer, noting that the camp is already seeing incidents of drug use and discarded needles.

Chrissy Brett, a defendant in the case, says she's disappointed with the outcome of the court ruling.

She says she's unsure what will happen next, but she proposed setting up another encampment outside the B.C. Supreme Court.

Campers will have 15 days to leave the site, which is the property of the Vancouver Port Authority. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

From Oppenheimer to CRAB Park

The new camp has been on port authority property on the waterfront since the beginning of May. 

Campers started pitching their tents shortly after May 8, when the homeless camp in Oppenheimer Park was closed. Anywhere between 100 to 130  people are living in the new camp.

Camp member Tony Pruden said he's at a loss about what's next for him.

"If we're evicted from here, I'll just wander the streets because I've no place to be," he said.

A B.C. Supreme Court justice said health and safety concerns, like drug use and discarded needles in the camp, were among the reasons for his judgment. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

The port authority's original injunction application required campers to vacate the camp by May 28. Justice Nicholson granted an extension to allow the campers's lawyer to gather information and file arguments about why they should be permitted to stay.  

More than 300 homeless people living at Oppenheimer Park were housed by the province before the camp was closed. According to the port authority, B.C. Housing officials have contacted members of the camp with offers of accommodation. 

Corrections

  • A previous version of this story incorrectly said that campers had 15 days to leave the site. In fact, they have three days to leave upon receiving notice of the order.
    Jun 11, 2020 10:18 AM PT

With files from the Canadian Press

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