WATCH: Today was to be the deadline for residents of Nanaimo’s tent city. As of midnight tonight, the city would have been in a legal position to evict the campers. But as Kendall Hanson reports, a last-minute court application means the city has changed its plans.
The City of Nanaimo said it will not enforce an injunction to shut down the downtown tent city until the BC Supreme Court has a chance to consider an extension to the order.
The injunction, which was granted by the BC Supreme Court on Sept. 21, gave the homeless campers at Discontent City 21 days to clear out of the site.
However, when the B.C. government announced they had purchased property in Nanaimo for temporary modular housing on Oct. 5, the province asked the city to use a planned phase approach when shutting down the site at 1 Port Drive so the homeless campers could remain there until the units were available.
Noah Ross, the lawyer representing some occupants at Discontent City, has now filed an application for an extension to close the camp. The BC Supreme Court hearing will take place at 9 a.m. on Oct. 19.
The city said Friday it is respecting the court’s need to consider the application and will defer the existing court order for closure until they know the outcome of the application.
“Closure is still the goal, however, given the application to the Supreme Court filed today, council has directed that the city defer closure. Public safety continues to be the city’s number one priority. The city is committed to a phased approach to the camp closure that is compassionate, respectful and structured and addresses the concerns raised in the fire safety order,” the city said in a release.
The City of Nanaimo plans to file its response to the court application on Tuesday morning after council considers its next steps. The city is also reaching out to the provincial government for help with increased costs associated with the encampment.