City, the Park Board and partners increase safety efforts for Vancouver parks

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City of Vancouver and Park Board Increase Needle Pickup Efforts in Andy Livingstone Park

The City of Vancouver, the Park Board and partners have increased safety efforts in response to concerns of needles found in Andy Livingstone Park and Crosstown Elementary School, which uses the park as its play area.

“As Mayor, I take the concerns raised about needle hazards seriously, particularly around schools and parks where children and families are at risk,” says Mayor Gregor Robertson. “The City, Park Board, Vancouver Coastal Health and Vancouver School Board are ramping up efforts to keep Andy Livingstone Park clean and safe for neighbourhood residents and will be reporting to the public regularly on progress of reducing discarded needles. I’m reminding all residents that if you see a discarded needle on the street or in a park, report it immediately to the Needle Van Hotline. Fourteen months into B.C.’s most serious public health emergency in history, managing discarded needles in public spaces has become a significant challenge. We need partners at all levels of government to work together to keep our public spaces clean and safe.”

The Park Board established a permanent ranger station in the park in January 2017 for ‘eyes on the park’. This is the only permanent Ranger station outside of Stanley Park, and demonstrates our commitment to the area. In addition, Park Board has taken action to enhance safety and security in and around the park and adjacent playground at Crosstown Elementary School.

“We hope our efforts send a message to residents that they’ve been heard and their concerns are important to us. This is a process that requires all of us to work closely and diligently together as we strive for safety in our parks and a great experience for all park users,” says Park Board Chair Michael Wiebe.

As of June 15, Park Board staff will be at the park 7 days a week:

* There will be increased deployment of park operations staff and two Park Rangers on site in Andy Livingstone from 7am to 11pm seven days a week.

* Staff will also be working actively with VPD, who will be increasing patrols in Andy Livingstone Park and the surrounding area.

In addition to work carried out by Vancouver Park Board to clean the park, staff at Crosstown Elementary conduct four safety sweeps each day in areas where students play at recess and lunch to remove hazards like needles. Staff at the school also educate students on how to identify hazards and play safely.

Park Board staff installed four needle receptacles throughout the park last spring where drug use is most prevalent. Rangers and park operations staff also pick up the needles along with other partners such as PHS’s Spikes on Bikes and Mobile Needle Recovery Service, Street Youth Job Action and Vancouver Coastal Health, which funds needle pick up programs.

Early each morning City Sanitation staff are also attending the area to pick up garbage and needles around the perimeter of the park as well as the school ground, the two playgrounds and the Carrall street overpass.

The City, health and school board officials are working on a coordinated response to serve all of our residents enhance park and playground security for local families and children at Crosstown Elementary. Staff will continue to engage with concerned residents and parents to provide updates on the City and Park Board’s efforts.

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