Vancouver’s new policy on social distancing is now ready

Council was told security hired to prevent encampments wouldn’t make arrests. One councillor is questioning why city documents say otherwise.

For now, this is where things stand in Vancouver. City staff say it’s up to police to make arrests, but given the lack of any clear-cut protocol in place, it’s hard to see how that’s possible.

But now, the city says it’s ready to move ahead with any new plan or policy. “We’re not quite sure what to do next,” Mayor Gregor Robertson said.

With a new, more proactive approach to enforcing social distancing, council is now faced with a very real possibility of more encampments popping up at public and private parks.

But Council is also preparing to move ahead and impose their own rules and regulations on the issue, and there’s still no deadline on that.

“The city council has an obligation to consider, look at and examine all the information and to put forward its own recommendation,” he told reporters today.

“We’ve been through this with last month’s COVID-19 decision to bring it forward, and we’ve been through this with the decision to not bring forward the new bylaw until after the election, but until now, with this decision, we’ve had no consultation, no opportunity for the public to have input into this, and so we’ve had to make this decision as we’ve gone.”

The city says it’s now ready for a more proactive approach to enforcement.

“We want to hear the community’s ideas about what we can do,” Robertson said. “We want to take some of those suggestions to council, then we go back to them and we sit down and put together a recommendation.”

Council will return on March 11, as scheduled, to hold a public consultation on this new policy.

We’ll update you when that happens.

In the meantime, we asked the city for a few

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