VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – After eight months of testimony, the Missing Women Inquiry has come to an end.

Commissioner Wally Oppal now has until Oct. 31 to make his recommendations.

The final day was marked by protesters blocking off a major intersection in Downtown Vancouver. They set up four large tents at Granville and West Georgia. Georgia Street was completely blocked off to traffic between Seymour and Howe Streets. Protesters gathered for a drumming circle and chanted prayers.

Protest organizers believe, “the higher ups to know that they’re still here and they still want their voices heard.”

“Police should have come up front, like any other civilian, in regards to a crucial murder, such as 33 murders. The taxpayers should have had to pay this much for the law to tell the truth,” argues Kelly White with the Coast Salish.

“It was a waste of funding that could have been used for the shelter and food for those in destitute need,” she adds.

Since last October, Oppal has heard from more than 80 witnesses, including relatives of Pickton’s victims, current and former police officers, Crown prosecutors, sex trade workers, advocates, and academics, among others.

Critics, including family members of Pickton’s victims, say the inquiry has been a failure because it wasn’t broad enough and did not hear from enough witnesses.

“We could always call more evidence, but we called all the evidence that I feel in my mind is necessary to come to proper conclusions,” explains Oppal, adding the last eight months have been a challenging task.

The inquiry saw a blame-game play out between Vancouver police and RCMP.

The VPD says the RCMP dropped the ball; the RCMP says Vancouver police failed to notice a serial killer was operating in their city.

When asked if a regional police force would make a difference in the future, Oppal says it’s up to local mayors, not him, to make that decision.

Oppal’s job for the next five months will be to sort out who to believe, who to blame, and what needs to be changed to make life safer for sex workers, many of them aboriginal, who live in the troubled neighbourhood where Pickton hunted his victims.

Those recommendations will likely focus on how police should investigate major cases that spread across jurisdictions, particularly those involving serial killers and sex workers.

Police first received the first tips implicating Pickton in the murder of Downtown Eastside sex workers in 1998, but he wasn’t arrested until February 2002, when RCMP officers armed with a search warrant related to illegal firearms raided his farm.

He was subsequently convicted of six counts of second-degree murder.

The remains or DNA of 33 women were found on his farm; he once told an undercover police officer that he killed 49.