After a random attack on the Downtown Eastside on Tuesday afternoon, a 62-year-old man in a wheelchair is recovering from stab wounds.
Wayne told Global News that he was attacked after getting into a fight with someone who was using the pavement in front of his apartment complex. Wayne declined to give his last name due to safety reasons.
“They are selling stuff on the sidewalk and there is no way for a person in the wheelchair to get through,” he said.
“It should not be dangerous to go to the grocery store. We are taking our lives in our hands every day to go out that door.”
According to police, during the preliminary investigation they believe Wayne may have accidentally bumped someone with his wheelchair which may have lead to the assault with a weapon stabbing him multiple times.
A community on Hastings is under siege by homeless people and a massive unsanitary illegal sidewalk occupation “tent city” impeding pedestrians use of the sidewalk and appears to be attracting an increase of crime and violence in the area but police say it’s too early to make that connection right now.
“We do believe he’ll recover, we don’t believe his injuries are life-threatening, but obviously that kind of violence is concerning in any neighbourhood, but in a neighbourhood where we’ve got a victim who is wheelchair-bound, vulnerable, 62 years old, it’s increasingly concerning,” he said Sgt. Steve Addison with the Vancouver Police Department, according to Global News.
A lot of the homeless people taking up in the illegal occupation and illegal camping on the sidewalk spend thousands of dollars per month on drugs. However even if they spent money on rent for shelter instead of drugs, rent is so unaffordable and it’s difficult to find a place because of the low vacancy rates.
Another resident named Dickinson, that lives in a SRO nearby and also in a wheelchair said it takes forever to go one block now. The tent city occupation takes up the whole sidewalk and has lead to him falling off the sidewalk trying to go around.
“I’ve been pushed straight over, onto the road, kicked, punched,” he said.
The city was previously conducting street sweeps with city engineering workers and Vancouver Police Department workers enforcing bylaws that prevent illegal occupations and illegal camping on the side walks. However the city council voted on July 1, 2022 to end the enforcement of the city bylaw.
After the city decided to stop enforcing the bylaw the homeless feel more empower to not go anywhere and has resulted in more tents and structures being set up.
Some residents say they continue to feel unsafe in the area.
“There has been a death threat…I have run into confrontations…arguments…things thrown at me, swearing, even if you ask politely we need to get through,” resident Wendy Stewart told Global News.
“People who have lived here, 16, 20 years have never seen it like this,” Stewart added. “It’s just not safe for people. I know someone who lives on the upper floors and she can’t have her windows open due to insects, fleas and other issues with this not being cleaned up.
“You’re wondering if you’re going to get attacked every time you go outside.”
“Debbie receives a death threat from a woman on camera at the end of the video “I’m going to take you out”, she says as Debbie is going into 40. Asking 4 wheelchair space DTES Vancouver ShitShow Earned me a threat to” Wendy Tweeted on July 12, 2022
Is Vancouver’s Downtown East side becoming British Columbia’s CHAZ like Seattle’s failed CHAZ/CHOP? For several years Seattle’s mayor decriminalized homelessness and stopped police from street sweeps and went ahead with defunding the police. According to Wall Street Journal, CHAZ became plagued by violence, assaults, robberies and shootings, the mayor has now done a U-turn hiring more prosecutors and rehiring police officers to bring law and order back to the community.
What is the street and sidewalk bylaw for Vancouver?
A spokesperson for the City of Vancouver told BC Rise by email the bylaw “is intended to minimize obstructions to help keep sidewalks accessible, passable, clean and safe for everyone.” The street and traffic city bylaws can be found on the City of Vancouver website. The document is dated, last update on (Consolidated for convenience only to March 1, 2022).
In section 66 of the bylaw it says, no merchandise, vehicle, chattel, or wares of any nature on any street, sidewalk or boulevard for the purpose of sale or display, or for any other purpose whatsoever except in the actual course of receipt or delivery. “merchandise” includes food products, produce and like products. Anything sold on the street may be impounded.
While section 67 says, no persons shall occupy streets or sidewalks that obstructs, impedes, or interferes passage of vehicles or pedestrians on streets and sidewalks, except with the written permission of the Council
How much tax payer money is wasted cleaning up after the homeless
According to a City council memo it said Engineering and Parks pay police for their work on Street sweeps and in parks (with people who are homeless). Millions of dollars is pumped in to clean the streets from these illegal unsanitary tent city occupations and the tax payers foot the bill meaning tax needs to increase to fund it or funding is taking from else where to pay for it.
“From 2019 – 2021, the VPD incurred approximately $970,000 of overtime costs to ensure
public safety at various en/decampments, assist park rangers, and as requested by City
Engineering, accompany their staff when cleaning the streets.” In addition to this spending the VPD re-directed on-duty staff to ensure public safety and the approximate amount is $515,000.
The Street Cleaning Budget eats up millions of tax dollars every year. In 2017 they were funded $9.25 Million and spent $7.77 million. the next year in 2018 fund of $9.49 million was granted but they spent over budget at $9.58 million. In 2019 there was a bump in the budget to $10.22 million and $9.91 million was spent that year. Come 2020 again we see another increase to funding at $10.99 million while $8.79 million was spent. For 2021 came with even more increases to $11.30 million and year over year we can see more spending now up to $10.28 million.
Apparently for the “underspending” for the first 8 months of 2021 was because of short staffing, however the spending increased by $2 million from the previous year in 2020. Less staff but more spending.