Homeless Man Sues Vancouver for Ticketing Him to Sleep in Parks

A homeless man has decided to file a law suit against Vancouver bylaws, which claim violation of his constitutional rights, because he was ticketed by police for camping out in city parks.

The court case is filed on Thursday by Pivot Legal Society, on Clarence Taylor’s behalf, against the City of Vancouver. The law suit claims that the police and engineering staff reached the homeless man nearly 100 times between 2009 and 2012, when he was staying overnight at different parks. 57-year-old Taylor previously used to live in different shelters and single-room occupancy hotels throughout Metro Vancouver.

Taylor alleged that the city engineering staff and police repeatedly ordered him to leave the beach and find a shelter either downtown or in the suburbs. Taylor stated that “just because I’m homeless, why should I leave?” so “I don’t like Surrey.” He shared that he was given a total of eight bylaw tickets in 2009 for violations banning the erection of structures not authorized by the city’s engineering department. Taylor asserts that these structures were nothing but tents made from a tarp.

The Pivot lawyer, Scott Bernstein, acknowledged that a section of the parks control bylaw unambiguously prohibits people from setting up tents in city parks without permission, but he alleges that “that activity shouldn’t be illegal, it shouldn’t be ticketed and the city engineers shouldn’t be using this bylaw as a legislative cattle prod to move people along.”

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