Growing tent city at Nanaimo City Hall


The number of tents pitched in front of Nanaimo City Hall is growing and officials are meeting to determine what to do about it.

Protesters began setting up a tent city Monday in protest of the loss of $7 million in funding for a supportive housing project slated for the city’s south end.

The funding was pulled away because of problems to find a suitable location.

Strong opposition from residents of the Chase River neighbourhood proposed for the project forced the council to reconsider.

RCMP said Monday they are are keeping on eye on the protest but won’t be moving any of the campers for now. As of Tuesday, there were approximately 12 tents set up.

Officials met Tuesday morning in city hall to come up with a plan to deal with the growing tent city.

The province confirms money will stay on the table through 2018 but the $7 million earmarked for the Nanaimo project will be spent elsewhere.

But the mayor insists that despite the setback, tackling homelessness remains a top priority.

“This council made it very clear that they were not prepared to go ahead simply because funding was put in front of us to go ahead just on the funding side of things without doing an adequate consultation with the community,” Nanaimo Mayor Bill McKay said Monday.

Community advocate Matthew O’Donnell said a solution to the housing problem needs immediate solutions that cannot wait for the second round of funding.


Andy NealAndy Neal

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