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Man fighting public camping bylaw

A homeless man is challenging a Vancouver bylaw with help from socialadvocacy groups after being ticketed $525 for camping on the sidewalk.

A homeless man is challenging a Vancouver bylaw with help from social advocacy groups after being ticketed $525 for camping on the sidewalk.

James Oickle lived in a tent for 12 days in the Downtown Eastside after being evicted.

“I’ve chosen to be on the street (instead of a park) for safety reasons,” Oickle said yesterday.

A similar bylaw in Victoria was struck down in October 2008 by advocates who successfully argued for camping in public spaces when shelters are full.

In the case Victoria vs. Adams: Advancing the Right to Shelter, it was decided that not allowing temporary shelter on public spaces violated the right to security.

“After the Adams decision happened we went to the mayor and council and told him Vancouver bylaws were the same way,” said Douglas King, a lawyer with the Pivot Legal Society.

He claimed the mayor said the bylaw would be changed by May 1, which hasn’t happened.

Wendy Pedersen of the Carnegie Community Action Project said that homeless people are going to keep raising a fuss until something is done.

“There’s a city bylaw that prevents the homeless from erecting tents on the sidewalk and instead forces the homeless to hide from police,” Pedersen said.

“When the homeless are hidden ... we forget about (them).”

 
 
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