False Creek residents plead for help combating garbage, needles and escalating violence

Residents in False Creek are sounding the alarm over what they say is an increase in violence, discarded needles and garbage within the community and are calling on all three levels of government for help.

‘The situation has really reached crisis proportions,’ says member of False Creek Residents Association

False Creek residents are 'fed up' with the garbage, discarded needles and drug paraphernalia littering their streets and parks. (City of Vancouver)

Residents in False Creek are sounding the alarm over what they say is an increase in violence, discarded needles and garbage within the community and are calling on all three levels of government for help.

Fern Jeffries, a member of the False Creek Residents Association, has lived in the area since 2004 and says the "urban chaos" is getting out of control.

"We've seen an escalation in personal violence, open drug use, threatening residents and children and we really are fed up with the options that are provided to us," she said.

Her building manager reports assaults or violent confrontations numerous times a week, Jeffries said.

A play area at Andy Livingston Park is seen littered with needles and other garbage last year. (Tricia Dong)

Police are responsive to emergency calls — like when a young family in the neighbourhood recently reported being threatened by a man with a machete while out on a run — but general complaints about garbage and needles go unresolved, Jeffries said.

"We are told to call 311 or we're told that these are complex social options," she told Stephen Quinn, the host of CBC's The Early Edition.

"We know the situation is complex …  All in all, the situation has really reached crisis proportions."

Fern Jeffries says the issues are a combination of the housing crisis and the opioid crisis and are not only impacting her False Creek neighbourhood, but also nearby areas like Strathcona. (Christer Waara/CBC)

Forum of concerns

False Creek residents are holding a community forum this week to outline their concerns, look to social agencies and government for help and come up with a plan of action.

Jeffries described the forum as a desperate "plea for help."

"We're tired of picking through the garbage while walking kids to school. It's just not acceptable," she said.

"I'd like some garbage cans. I'd like some commitment from the city for clean streets."

Fern Jeffries says residents are tired of picking through garbage and want the city to address the litter. (Fern Jeffries )

Jeffries said she thinks the issues plaguing her neighbourhood are a combination of Vancouver's housing crisis and the opioid crisis.

All three levels of government have some accountability, she said, from federal drug criminalization policies to provincial mental health resources to municipal reactions to calls for help.

"We are hoping to get some broader understanding and shared understanding [at the forum], so that we no longer get, 'well, it's a complex problem, sweetie.'"

The community forum is being held at Crosstown Elementary School on Tuesday, Sept. 11 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Residents in False Creek are sounding the alarm over what they say is an increase in violence, discarded needles and garbage within the community and calling on all three levels of government for help. 7:27

With files from The Early Edition.

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