The City of Nanaimo said it will comply with an Island Health order that states the city must provide free-flowing potable water to tent city.
The announcement comes after the city was given an extension to a Hazard Abatement and Prevention Order issued last week for the tent city at 1 Port Drive.
Dr. Paul Hasselback, the medical health officer for central Vancouver Island, said last week that the municipality is required to continue solid waste services, and, in addition, provide free-flowing potable water, additional porta-potties and hand sanitizing stations by July 10, 2018, at 5 p.m.
The city originally said they would ask Island Health to reconsider the order but later installed three additional porta-potties and is in discussions with Island Health about hand sanitizing stations.
And after discussions with the city, the deadline for the order was changed to July 12.
The city said starting Thursday, temporary free-flowing potable water is now available to tent city occupants.
“While council maintains the position this is an illegal trespass and has sent a request to the Provincial Health Officer to appeal the order, their decision to comply comes from many considerations. These include the expected increase of hot and dry weather over the next two weeks, the desire to ensure occupants have adequate toilet facilities given the recent increase in numbers and the need to prevent further contamination from human waste of 1 Port Drive and the general neighbourhood and relieve the strain on the surrounding business community and public washroom facilities,” the city said in a statement.
The city will be in BC Supreme Court in Nanaimo on July 16 for an injunction hearing. The city is requesting a statutory injunction to have Discontent City dismantled and the occupants removed. The city, through its legal counsel, has also sent a request to Hasselback, asking him to provide an eviction order to the tent city occupants.
City of Nanaimo’s letter to Dr. Paul Hasselback
Nanaimo Mayor Bill McKay said Hasselback’s current order is not a long-term solution.
“The occupants should be aware that this matter is proceeding to court next week. Dismantling the tent city is a permanent solution to ensure public health and safety,” McKay said in a statement