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Park Board removes temporary fencing at Oppenheimer Park ahead of housing rally

About 130 people have been living in the tent city at Oppenheimer Park for over a year. (Source: CityNews Vancouver)
Summary

Temporary fencing has been removed by Park Board staff Friday morning

Fencing was installed last week in order to begin "much-needed" repairs to the grass field

Advocates say fencing was an attempt to displace homeless people living at the park

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A rally against a fence blocking part of Oppenheimer Park has forced the Vancouver Park Board to take the fence down.

The fence was removed by Vancouver Park Board staff Friday morning, ahead of a rally calling for housing planned for next Tuesday.

A release from the Park Board says the fence was put up a week ago, in order to begin “much-needed repairs” to the field, but after facing backlash from concerned homeless advocates the fence has since been pulled down.

WATCH:¬†Oppenheimer Park campers compare clean-up’s to ‘raids’

 

“The Park Board is reluctant to take the measure of removing the fence, however it is necessary in the interest of public safety,” reads the release. “Removing the temporary fencing means that repairing the field will no longer be possible ahead of community gatherings such as National Indigenous Peoples Day and the Powell Street Festival.”

The Park Board is denying claims from advocates, who say the fencing was an attempt to displace the homeless people who camp there.

“Community advocates have been viewing the fence as a move by the City and Park Board to displace campers permanently from the park. This was not the case: campers were not instructed to leave, but rather to move to another section of the park until the work on the grass was completed.”