Oppenheimer Park advocates and residents mourn loss of community member 

Unceded territories, January 3, 2020 – In a tragic turn of events, community resident and Oppenheimer Park visitor Jesus Cristobal-Esteban, 62, passed away in hospital yesterday due to complications resulting from an injury on January 1.  

Advocates joined his friends at the park today to share sympathy for this well respected elder in the Latino community.

While Jesus was not a resident of Oppenheimer Park, he was a daily visitor, where he regularly joined friends and neighbours. His smiling face was well known to all.

This tragic incident affects a close-knit community, with friends across many spectrums and touching many lives. We are all saddened by losing this community member

This is a difficult time of year for many, in many places, and the Downtown Eastside is no exception. More resources are needed at Oppenheimer Park, and urgent action on housing to reflect the current homelessness crisis. We continue to call for safe housing, health and safety resources, life-saving warming tents (see below**) and sanitation, and supports to provide a dignified life in less than ideal circumstances where vulnerable people are doing the best they are able.

More information:

Chrissy Brett 
Tent City Liaison 
+1 (250) 415-2348

Fiona York
CCAP Coordinator and Administrator

** Both the Vancouver Park Board operated events the Festival of Lights  at Van Dusen Botanical Garden and the Polar Bear Swim had public warming tents – yet the Vancouver Fire Department and Park Board continue to say that a life-saving warming tent for Oppenheimer Park is “unsafe”.

A report (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6765826/) published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health shows that cold weather injuries can occur at mild and moderate temperatures, as well as extreme temperatures.

“Notably, 72% of the hypothermic events occurred when the minimum daily temperature was warmer than −15 °C. This finding is consistent with previous reports that cold weather injuries occur in the general population during low (>0 °C) and moderate (0−13°C) cold stress, in addition to high-cold stress… suggesting that agencies involved in planning the cold weather response should routinely consider the health impacts associated with moderate cold stress along with those arising from extreme temperatures. 

“In particular, it is important for local agencies involved in cold weather response to emphasize strategies to prevent hypothermia for the duration of the winter season, not only on extremely cold days.”