VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – First responders are hoping the dozens of people living in Oppenheimer Park on the Downtown Eastside don’t use portable heat sources or an open flame to stay warm during this cold snap because of the risk of fires breaking out.
But Vancouver Police Sgt. Aaron Roed says officers won’t force anyone to go to a shelter.
“Definitely not, this is their own choice. But if it is cold in the park, we do recommend that they go to the shelters and stay safe and warm.”
He says officers are visiting the park consistently to check in on people.
All weather #warnings have been dropped across the Lower Mainland, but the outflow #wind is still blowing NE 40-60 km/h in the Valley and near the border this morning. Gradually calming down on a sunny Thursday afternoon, high 6 degrees. Windchill dipping to minus 10 tonight.
— Russ Lacate (@NEWS1130Weather) November 28, 2019
“We do have a homeless outreach coordinator who works in Vancouver, as well as the Downtown Eastside and the Oppenheimer Park area. She does offer advice on the shelters – where they are and how many bedspaces we have available within the city,” Roed says, adding there should be space for everyone.
“Shelters in the area are offering additional bedspace, so we’re promoting people to go to the shelters, stay safe, stay warm, take care of your property within the park, but just get through this short phase of cold weather in [the] Vancouver area.”
It’s supposed to drop down to around -3 on Thursday night, and as low as -10 including the windchill, before things warm up a bit early next week.