MEDIA RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
7 April 2021
VANCOUVER, B.C. - The Green Party of Vancouver welcomes the announcement of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Park Board, city, and province to secure accommodation for people currently living in and around Strathcona Park by April 30, 2021. As part of the MOU, the Park Board will lead on managing Strathcona Park as the encampment is dismantled, in coordination with partners.
A year and a half ago then-Chair Stuart Mackinnon, speaking on behalf of the majority of the Park Board, asked for a coordinated effort to end homelessness in Vancouver. “Seeking a multi-jurisdictional approach is the only way to address this issue,” said Commissioner Mackinnon. “We are pleased to see that this approach has been adopted and has resulted in new solutions. It is this kind of cooperation between province, city, and Park Board that begins to seek a better way ahead. We understand the tremendous toll has had on the neighbourhood. We heard you and continued to work toward a positive outcome for everyone involved. We look forward to working with everyone in restoring and improving Strathcona park for all.”
Current Park Board Chair Camil Dumont celebrated the announcement, recognizing the need for all levels of government to take responsibility for the systemic failures that have led to encampments. “We are in the middle of multiple crises -- mental health, housing, drug poisoning and COVID-19. The easy road would have been to displace these people, as previous levels of government have, to continue the cycle of band-aid solutions, or no solutions, as opposed to addressing the systemic issues that have led us to this situation. We decided at the Park Board that we would hold our ground and seek greater action, progress and true resolutions in partnership with the city and the province. I’m hopeful we are in a new place with this now.”
Councillor Pete Fry, who lives near the park, also welcomed the announcement. “This is a historic three-way memorandum of understanding with the province, Park Board, and city to ensure strategies to shelter folk who need it, mitigate homelessness, and prevent future encampments.”
“My Green colleagues in particular know and appreciate how difficult this has been for the neighbourhood, but they also recognized that a legal enforcement order wouldn't have been possible absent housing, and clearing a large tent city needs to be done thoughtfully and purposefully,” continued Fry.
Anthony Hughes, Chairperson
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