The city has set up a temporary resource centre downtown to help with the transition of the coming closure of Discontent City. NICHOLAS PESCOD/The News Bulletin

City sets up service tents next to Discontent City to help campers relocate

There will be partial road closures on Esplanade during afternoons

  • Oct. 11, 2018 12:00 a.m.

The city has set up a temporary resource centre downtown to help with the transition of the coming closure of Discontent City.

The City of Nanaimo posted information on its website Thursday afternoon advising the public that tents have been set up along Esplanade “to use as a resource centre to help occupants of the encampment access services and make plans to relocate from 1 Port Drive.” The new information did not specify dates or timelines.

Alliance Against Displacement and a Discontent City supporter said Wednesday that the city was planning to shut down the homeless camp on Friday, which is the date when a B.C. Supreme Court-approved injunction against tent city comes into effect.

Nanaimo Mayor Bill McKay said last night that Discontent City will be shut down in a “pragmatic” way, but wouldn’t disclose when the that would occur.

The B.C. minister of municipal affairs and housing, Selina Robinson, said last week that she expected the City of Nanaimo would not enforce the injunction until after newly announced temporary supportive housing is set up at locations on Labieux Road and Terminal Avenue.

“The City of Nanaimo is primarily concerned with public health and safety and is working to find immediate and lasting solutions for the many vulnerable people living in tents, and for those most affected by their presence there,” notes the city website.

Nanaimo Fire Rescue’s command bus has already been at tent city this month with a new mission as a mobile office for community outreach.

“The service providers down there, like Portland Housing Society, or whatever service providers are down there, are looking for a place to be situated to kind of have a work desk and almost to be able to receive people and manage their inquiries,” said Tim Doyle, Nanaimo Fire Rescue deputy chief of operations, last week.

The bus was slated to operate there until Discontent City is closed.

McKay could not be reached for further comment Thursday. Fire chief Karen Fry, the city’s director of public safety, could not be reached for comment.

-files from Chris Bush/The News Bulletin

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