WATCH: Just hours before tonight’s court-ordered deadline for campers to leave Oppenheimer Park —; a body was discovered in one of the tents. Randene Neill has the latest.
VANCOUVER – A person has been found dead in a tent in Oppenheimer Park on the day the campers were ordered to be evicted, but police say the death does not appear to be suspicious.
The victim has been identified as a 69-year-old man, but he has not been positively identified.
His body was found inside a tent around 11 a.m. this morning.
Cst. Brian Montague of the Vancouver Police says it appears the person may have been deceased for a couple days.
There are no visible signs of violence or trauma, and there is no apparent or obvious cause of death.
The VPD has turned the investigation over to the BC Coroners Service.
Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson issued a statement on the death, saying the tragedy demonstrates why tent camps are not safe.
Tonight marks the deadline for campers at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park to dismantle their homeless camp.
All tents, structures and shelters must be removed from the area by 10 p.m. Wednesday.
Four hours until evictions at #Oppenheimer park. We are here all night. @GlobalBC @BC1 @AgnieszkaWyka @adrewaglobal pic.twitter广州桑拿网/FjgwlP6c9i
— Catherine Urquhart (@CUrquhartGlobal) October 16, 2014
The city was granted an injunction last week and the campers were given a week’s notice to find new places to live.
Robertson says over a hundred people from the tent camp have already been moved to shelters and housing units ahead of the eviction deadline.
He says city staff will be on site tonight to inform tent city residents of the options available to them.
READ MORE: A look at life at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park
Vancouver Police say arrests will only be made as a last resort and officers will be wearing special video cameras on their vests during the eviction process. The department says the new equipment is meant to help gather evidence during interactions with the public, while also allowing increased transparency.
“We are asking people to obey the court order but if they interfere with city staff or assault city staff or those intentionally violating the order may be arrested and charged with criminal contempt,” Vancouver Police Chief Jim Chu said in a press conference Wednesday morning.
DJ Larkin with the Pivot Legal Society supports the use of cameras, but not solely for the purpose of evicting campers from Oppenheimer Park.
“We support the use of body cameras because it does allow interactions to be filmed, but the fact this is being done as a trial run, really risks re-casting this as a policing issue and not a housing issue,” she says.
Larkin says it’s difficult to see how campers will be able to leave the park by tonight’s deadline.
“There are so many belongings here and so many people here, I can’t see how this would be cleared out by 10 p.m.,” she says. “I haven’t spoken to anyone who intends to resist, but I have spoken to a lot of people who don’t know where they are going to go.”
Larkin says that the emergency shelter spaces being offered by the city to campers are not suitable for everyone.
“I know outreach workers are in the park today, and say they will find a mat on a shelter floor for anyone who wants one, but there are many people here for whom a shelter mat is not acceptable.”