The first of three scheduled hearings dealing with Discontent City took place in Nanaimo today.
An application hearing was held in the Supreme Court of British Columbia at the Nanaimo courthouse on Monday, July 16. In a court session that lasted less than five minutes, Justice Ronald A. Skolrood told the lawyers from both sides that any the matters of concern can be raised during the two-day petition hearing scheduled for July 17.
“I think that is a more efficient use of time,” Skolrood said.
Speaking to media afterwards, Jarrett Plonka, an attorney with Dominion GovLaw, the firm represent the City of Nanaimo, said the essence the application hearing was to have the Discontent City’s organizers or “management” confirm how many individuals are living on the site.
“We need to know how many people are actually there,” he said.
Plonka said the information is important to know for health and safety reasons. He also said there are a number of individuals living at Discontent City who are not actually homeless, adding he believes there are more than a dozen youths at the camp who are under the care of the Ministry of Children and Family Development.
“Every one of those [youths] has a place to go by definition.”
Plonka said he was fine with the judge’s decision to move everything to the petition hearing on July 17 and expected it, adding that Timothy Huntsman, one of the lawyers representing some members of Discontent City, had another case to deal with around the same time as the hearing. Plonka also said the hope is to have everything completed within the two-day petition hearing, but said there’s a chance it could go longer.
“It’s absolutely possible, but our intention is to complete it in two days and to perhaps continue into the third day, which would be Thursday,” he said. “The reason for that is that this matter needs to be adjudicated and it is possible to deal with it in two days, as long as we are efficient.”
Huntsman Law, the firm representing members from Discontent City, did not respond to the News Bulletin’s request for comment.