British Columbia

Vancouver park board votes against evicting Oppenheimer Park residents

The Vancouver park board has decided that helping people voluntarily leave Oppenheimer Park is better than evicting them.

Board will instead look into helping people 'voluntarily leave' the camp in coming months

Activists, city officials and members of the public filled the park board meeting room Thursday night. (CBC News)

The Vancouver park board has decided that helping people voluntarily leave Oppenheimer Park is better than evicting them.

At an emergency meeting Thursday night, the board voted 5-2 in favour of a motion to support a voluntary collaborative decampment and for strategies to find better housing for those living in tents.

The park board has been under pressure to file for a court injunction to clear out the encampment, in which dozens of people have been living in tents for months.

The board heard from officials from the Vancouver police, fire department and city, as well as from people who live in Oppenheimer Park.

Commissioner John Coupar had wanted support for a court injunction to remove the tents.

"I don't believe it's appropriate or suitable for people to be sleeping in parks, especially as we approach winter," he said.

The issue is expected to be raised again at Vancouver city council next week.

Vancouver fire and park board officials take away mattresses while checking on vacant tents at Oppenheimer Park in Vancouver, on Aug. 20. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

With files from Meera Bains

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