Did ABC commit to a CRAB decampment?

As the city prepares to begin CRAB Park ‘cleanup,’ emails suggest politicians committed privately to clear the encampment

Good morning,

I want to give a shoutout to public amenities. With all this nice weather we’ve been having, I’ve been spending a lot of time at a basketball court in a park near my home, and while I’m terrible at all sports, it’s been nice to have a place where I can go and get outside and stay active and be made fun of by strangers for my utter lack of basketball skills.

Now that we’re back into some dreary weather, I guess I’ll have to go back to staring forlornly out my window.

In today’s edition, we’ve got questions about the park board’s actions in CRAB Park — is it a decampment, after all?

— Dustin Godfrey 


Friday: 13 🌡️ 9 | 🌧️

Saturday: 9 🌡️ 8 | 🌧️

Sunday: 12 🌡️ 6 | 🌤️

Monday: 9 🌡️ 4 | 🌧️


Is the city doing a cleanup or decampment in CRAB Park?

The scene of the Hastings decampment last year. Photo by Dustin Godfrey

Commissioners with the Vancouver Parks Board reportedly “assured” the Gastown Residents Association that they would “clear” the city-sanctioned encampment in CRAB Park.

Why it matters: The City of Vancouver has insisted the intention to clean up CRAB Park next Monday is only a cleanup of the area, and that the residents would be able to return to the location in early April, according to CTV. Stop the Sweeps, meanwhile, say emails they obtained through a freedom of information request back up their skepticism.

  • In a news release posted on Twitter, the group said emails between the Gastown Residents Association and Park Board commissioner Scott Jensen, as well as city council members and senior VPD staff, were part of a pattern of “repeated dishonest and bad-faith communications” from the city.

“The language of a ‘short-term cleanup’ while commissioners have a longstanding promise of decampment is misleading to the public and it is concerning to us,” said Marcus, a Stop the Sweeps member, in the news release.

What the emails said: The email, dated Jan. 18, pointed to attempts by CRAB Park advocates to build tiny homes in the park, which was blocked by park rangers, and said the issue “is clearly escalating.”

  • “Your assurances to this group (Gastown Residents) seem to have completely disappeared. We were assured early in your tenure with the Parks Board that steps would be taken to clear this encampment and return the park to community use,” the email stated.

The group said trees and hedges would be added to the area around the encampment to “mitigate the community impact,” before stating that “NONE of this has happened.”

The city’s response: Stop the Sweeps didn’t post the response to the email, but the news release indicates they didn’t refute the claimed assurances, but seem to corroborate it. “I like your suggestions,” Jensen said in his reply, according to the press release.

  • In an emailed statement to the Lookout, the city reiterated its position that the move is a cleanup, and not a decampment, and that the cleanup is necessary for the health and safety of residents, and others. The statement did not address the FOI request posted by Stop the Sweeps.

Condemnation from community: In the meantime, residents will be moved to a fenced-off area, which community advocate Fiona York described on Twitter as “dehumanizing pens.”

  • The First Nations Leadership Council said in a news release on Monday that the “cleanup” of CRAB Park is “none other than a forced eviction” and called it the “demolition of a community,” according to CityNews.

It’s already begun: While residents have begun to move to the fenced-off area, they aren’t required to have left the camp until end-of-day Sunday. But in a video posted by Stop the Sweeps on Twitter this week, a park ranger is seen damaging one person’s shelter. 

  • The rangers claimed they had permission from the resident of that shelter, according to the tweet, which noted that the resident returned and confirmed they didn’t have his permission.

“Residents have until Sunday to leave. Their homes should not be under attack,” Stop the Sweeps said later in the Twitter thread. “If this were about cleaning CRAB Park, residents would be leading it, and no one’s home would be destroyed or attacked.”

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🏢 1,954: The BC government’s community housing fund is expected to add that many affordable rental homes in Metro Vancouver across 17 new housing projects. [The Canadian Press]

💰 $37 million: Align Properties was ordered to put the site of its proposed 1485 Davie St. development up for sale after defaulting on loans totalling that much money. Interest is adding up at a rate of $15,555 a day. [Vancouver Sun]

🤷 $29,352: A senior must make that much or less to qualify for the province’s rental assistance program, something advocates say falls “dramatically short” of the need in BC. [Vancouver Sun]


A new planner? In this economy?

The city finally has a new chief planner. Six months after the sudden departure of Theresa O’Donnell, Josh White has been appointed general manager of planning, urban design and sustainability at Vancouver City Hall, according to Daily Hive.

Why it matters: White, coming from two years in the role of co-chief planner in Calgary, fills a glaring vacancy as the province’s housing regulations introduced late last year have caused havoc to planning departments around BC.

Municipalities have a big task to complete by June 30, when they have to have official community plan changes in place to accommodate transit-oriented development and missing-middle legislation.

This also comes amid a scarcity of city planners, who are increasingly leaving positions, and even the profession entirely, due to burnout, as CBC reported in January.


🚧 The disruption to business along the corridor during the Broadway subway construction is tolerable if the city, one business owner says, if the Broadway Plan is successful in turning the busy thoroughfare into “one of Vancouver’s greatest streets,” according to this deep dive. [Vancouver Sun]

🚨 A 46-year-old man has been arrested after a stabbing downtown on Wednesday. Two people were taken to hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries. [CBC]

🍻 The two health authorities whose jurisdictions split Metro Vancouver have each written the regional district’s board to oppose allowing alcohol in public parks, citing the fact that alcohol is a “leading global cause of preventable death.” [Vancouver is Awesome]

🚔 A 34-year-old man was charged with assault causing bodily harm after a 70-year-old man was pushed down at the Granville SkyTrain station last week. [CTV]

🌳 Plans to cut down a quarter of Stanley Park’s trees — 160,000 trees in all — is facing growing criticism, despite the park board insisting it’s necessary to mitigate fire risk from dead trees falling. [CBC]

🚑 A 36-year-old cyclist was sent to hospital with life-threatening injuries after she was hit by a Toyota Venza while heading north on Maple St. at West 4th Ave. [Vancouver Sun]

🚤 The fun never stops in False Creek, whe—sorry, I mean, the fun has stopped for many boats in False Creek, where there’s no end in sight to the number of derelict vessels left sunk or run aground, described by one mariner as “ticking time bombs of pollution.” [Vancouver Sun]


Aché Brasil | Scotiabank Dance Centre | March 28 | An astonishing display of acrobatics with folkloric Afro-Brazilian dance and music | Tickets $13

Chelsea Handler | Queen Elizabeth Theatre | March 29 | The Grammy-nominated comedian brings her retrospective of what made her the person we know today | Tickets $50

Murder is a Drag | The Show Cellar | March 27 | The first chapter of this murder mystery dinner experience | Tickets $55

Battle of BC 6 | Vancouver Convention Centre | March 29-31 | The unforgettable three-day Super Smash Bros gaming showdown returns for its sixth year | Tickets $35 and up

George Clutesi: ḥašaḥʔap / ʔaapḥii / ʕc̓ik / ḥaaʔaksuqƛ / ʔiiḥmisʔap | Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art | Ongoing | An exploration of Clutesi, whose life has left an indelible mark on the preservation of Nuu-chah-nulth cultural traditions and customs | Admission $13

It’s Okay to Be Different | Waterfront Theatre | Until March 24 | From Carousel Theatre for Young People, a production on understanding and acceptance to bring the little ones to | Tickets $35 adult, $18 child

X (Dix) | Vancouver Playhouse | Tonight and tomorrow | Côté Danse makes its hotly anticipated Vancouver debut | Tickets $40

Bougie Bingo for Life! | Diva at the Met | March 25 | A drag-themed bingo night with the potential to win a one-night stay at the Delta Burnaby | Tickets $33

Father Tartuffe: An Indigenous Misadventure | Granville Island Stage | Until Sunday | A con artist entangles himself in a family’s livelihood | Tickets $36


Food stories you might’ve missed this week

If you aren’t an Insider or a member of our food publication, you may have missed a few stories. Just in case, here they are:

🇺🇦 All the best Ukrainian staples — Borscht! Perogies! Cabbage rolls! Babka! — are on the menu in all their glory at Kozak Ukrainian Restaurant Cafe in Gastown.

🇮🇹 Just across the street from Kozak, Di Beppe brings a menu so deeply Italian, it brings tears to our eyes — and leaves us with full bellies.

🫖 Not far off, in Chinatown, Aiyaohno Cafe brings creative drinks, perfect pastries and a menu that caters to a variety of diets to the old BC Electric Railway Building.

🥪 Despite Nelson the Seagull’s size, the bakery has no problem filling its tables with patrons eager to sea-gulp down their sandwiches and pastries.


What may be the last good spring skiing day in a dismal season for the slopes above Vancouver.

  • Sorry to the penis waffle enthusiasts, but the 7-inch Waffle House (self-described as an “NSFW waffle house”) on Broadway is coming to a close due to the cost of operating — but you may still be able to find them at the Richmond Night Market. [Vancouver is Awesome]

  • Uncover insider travel secrets with Daily Drop. Their 5-min newsletter helps you maximize miles, find affordable fares, and stay ahead with top loyalty programs. Join 1M+ adventurers who get their daily insights - sign up for free! [Sponsored]

  • It’s not clear when Britannia’s ice rink will reopen after the park board announced on Wednesday that it was closing on account of mechanical problems. [Vancouver Sun]

  • The liquor-free trend continues apace, with Vancouver’s “first exclusively alcohol-free liquor store” opening at 1250 Commercial Dr. [Daily Hive]

  • Is Vancouver still the “No-Fun City”? The owner of Blueprint and Live Nation Canada thinks so after park board staff rejected a two-day festival in Brighton Park that was being planned for May over concerns about sound, port access and potential harm to environmentally sensitive areas. [Vancouver Sun]

  • We have no shortage of sports bars, so where are the sports bars dedicated to women’s sports? That’s the question asked by one writer after going to Seattle’s Rough & Tumble women’s sports bar. [Straight]

  • Construction is officially underway, at Cambie and West Georgia, on the Vancouver Art Gallery, which will bring a copper shine to the downtown core. [Glacier]

  • From yet another Final Destination sequel to an adaptation of a 1949 post-apocalyptic sci-fi novel to an adaptation of a 2020 post-apocalyptic zombie survival video game to (*deep breath*) an apocalyptic alien invasion series, here’s some of what will be filmed in Vancouver this year. [Vancouver Sun]


A cheeky (well, maybe not cheeky per se…) desert that’s relevant to something in this newsletter. Let’s see if you can guess it.

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