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‘Catastrophic’ fire hazard homeless tent city needs to evacuate immediately

All tents and structures on the sidewalk on East Hastings have been ordered to be immediately removed by Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services (VFRS) because of urgent safety concerns.

The order was issued on Monday July 25, 2022 by VFRS Chief Karen Fry which signals “accelerate structure removal” saying the order will “expedite the process.”

“While today’s order will expedite this process, the situation is complex and we will continue to take a thoughtful approach that considers the needs of those sheltering outdoors as we do this work.”

During a tour of East Hasting, fire inspectors found countless fire safety hazards with combustible materials and fuels being stored up against the buildings with several buildings entrances being blocked and fire fighter access was also impeded. Many of the buildings and structures that line East Hastings are wooden.

Up to 150 tent/tarpaulin structures have popped this month on Hastings Street in the Downtown Eastside and pose safety and fire hazards, which BC Rise reported here. The fire inspectors warned if a fire should break out, it would be catastrophic putting peoples lives in danger.

“Should a fire occur in the area in its current condition, it would be catastrophic, putting lives at risk and jeopardizing hundreds of units of much-needed housing. ”

The situation has grown out of control since July 1 with a significant increase of danger because of the tents and no sidewalk access for the public and community. Not only is there fire safety hazards there is a growing danger for the community members, This month a man in a wheelchair was stabbed and others that live in the buildings have had death threats.

On July 1st, the city’s engineering staff stopped their daily “street sweeps,” during which waste crews with the help of the Vancouver police disassembled and disposed of illegally placed unoccupied tents, including everything from inside.

A majority of Vancouver city council was angered by the cleaning of the sidewalks and supported a motion from Coun. Jean Swanson to end the “street sweeps” and led to the engineering department apologizing to activists who accused them for “not respecting” people’s property.

This practice had angered the majority on Vancouver council who supported a motion from Coun. Jean Swanson to put an end to the practice and led to an apology from the engineering department for not respecting people’s property.

In a separate statement, Vancouver mayor Kennedy Stewart says he “completely supports Chief’s Fry’s decision to make the area safe, but also realize the stress and difficulty this order will cause those living in the affected area.”

“My top priority is the safety and security of all Vancouver residents, especially vulnerable neighbours. Over the past four year we have secured funding to build the housing and services we need to reduce homelessness and support those suffering with mental health and addictions issues… Despite these investments and effort, it is clear that demand for high quality, supportive housing still outstrips supply — especially during hot summer days when many residents cannot live safely inside SROs with poor ventilation.”

According to Zumper, Last updated on July 10, 2022.The average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in Vancouver, BC is currently $2,394. This is a 20% increase compared to the previous year.

Over the past month, the average rent for a studio apartment in Vancouver decreased by -2% to $1,950. The average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment increased by 4% to $2,394, and the average rent for a 2-bedroom apartment increased by 3% to $3,400.

However Liv reported 2 bedroom unfurnished increased by 4.9% since last month

By dropping to a 1.2% vacancy rate from 2.6% in 2020, Metro Vancouver’s rental market has once again tightened in ways not seen across other large centres in Canada, found the CMHC

In February Vancouver Is Awesome By dropping to a 1.2 per cent vacancy rate from 2.6 per cent in 2020, Metro Vancouver’s rental market has once again tightened in ways not seen across other large centres in Canada, found the CMHC.

The purpose-built rental apartment vacancy rate decreased from 2.6% in 2020 to 1.2% in 2021, similar to 2019. The return of students and increased migration to the region grew rental demand faster than supply. says a report from CMHC

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

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