The American State Department has issued travel advisories for Iran, Afghanistan, Somalia and Haiti — but will it issue one for Vancouver?
An American couple living in False Creek North says they’ve alerted their government that the neighbourhood is unsafe for visitors, and is requesting it issue a travel advisory during the 2010 Games.
Deirdre Barlow, who is part of a group called Concerned Citizens of False Creek North, said residents are on edge after the city opened a shelter nearby, which she said has attracted violence, prostitution and drug use.
“(On Tuesday) I walked to the park and someone was shooting heroin,” Barlow said.
“There are constant police arrests at the shelter, people walking around with weapons. One guy had a ball and chain. It’s turned the neighbourhood upside-down.”
Barlow said people are being followed and intimidated, and it’s only a matter of time before a resident or tourist gets hurt.
“The (shelter users) need proper help and treatment,” she said. “This is a government-sponsored crack house.”
The temporary emergency shelter was one of five opened in Vancouver in the winter.
City Coun. Kerry Jang said it remained open because it remained full despite the warm weather, and said it’s slated to close next week.
“The (shelters) were funded by the province until June 30,” Jang said.
“Across the city crime is down about 30 per cent, and police say it’s because of the shelters,” he said. “You can imagine what will happen when (the shelter users) go back out.
“They’ll still be sleeping in the alleys, breaking into (residents’) cars and crapping in their gardens. We asked the province for interim housing and want to move the shelter populations somewhere else.”
Jang added that 85 per cent of people at the shelters used them every night, and started asking for psychiatric help as they became more stable.
“I’m petrified they’ll be lost if they don’t have somewhere to go (next week),” Jang said.
As for the travel advisory threat, he said it’s curious the American couple is only picking on False Creek North.