City crews took down the wooden fence at Five Corners park Monday morning.
As the business day was starting out in Chilliwack, not a shopping cart, tarp, bike, or homeless person could be seen in the downtown green space.
City workers were on orders to remove the fence because public works crews found used needles broken off in it — despite the fact that a sharps container was installed nearby.
Mayor Sharon Gaetz said the patience at city hall has “worn thin” over the abuse at Five Corners Park by those with illicit substance issues.
The portable toilets were removed from the site on June 7.
“They were so badly abused we had to take them out,” said Gaetz. “It was time.”
Cleanup crew members found clothing, blankets, and needles shoved into the toilet. Those portable units were a compassionate effort, she said, but they weren’t respected.
In terms of the fence, wet laundry was often strewn across it.
“That made the whole area look messy. It’s not a park that anyone wanted to enjoy,” she said.
“Downtown is being overrun. You drive down the street and every garbage container is yanked open. Then you see tarps and carts leaning against the wall. People want their Chilliwack back,” said Gaetz. “That park is clean now.”
Of course some of the people had returned to the park by lunchtime.
But the action on the streets is part of a multi-agency ‘Visibility Initiative’ that began this spring with RCMP, bylaw enforcement and security guards doing downtown patrols.
Stolen bikes and shopping carts were also confiscated last week. Some of the bikes were returned to owners, and the carts went back to the stores they were stolen from. If someone couldn’t prove ownership of a bicycle, officers called in the serial numbers.