Homeless camp at Nanaimo City Hall disbands


WATCH: The City of Nanaimo served an eviction notice to protesters camped out at city hall on Tuesday. It comes after council approved $350,000 dollars Monday night to help tackle problems surrounding homelessness and addiction. Kendall Hanson reports.

RCMP and city bylaw officers were at a homeless camp on the grounds of Nanaimo City Hall on Tuesday as it started coming down. The people staying at the camp were told to move on with city officials telling the protestors to head to different city parks or properties where they can stay in small groups.

“If you allow one central city there starts to be a little bit of angst within the community itself,” said Karen Fry, head of Nanaimo’s Bylaw Services. “There are arguments and fights and disturbances when an encampment gets too big.”

But the order to move highlights the situation many people find themselves in.

“If they’re going to tell us to move on. Move where?” asked Sean, who is homeless and declined to give his last name. “Put a place for us to go to and maybe we’ll move.”

The camp sprang up after city council voted down a supportive housing site that would have received $7 million in provincial funding. The city is now working to find an alternative location.

The camp’s organizers said they would disband once city council approved $350,000 in funding to deal with homeless issues, including a drop-in resource centre.

Council approved the funding last night.

“It’s nice to see that the city has laid down this report and city council has approved all of it,” said Amanda Orum, a community advocate who is also planning to run in the next municipal election. “It’s pretty much a band-aid but it’s a work in progress right?”

The organizers say the protest has been successful and highlights the homeless problem in the city but say the short-term solutions aren’t dealing with the core issues.

“I think everybody here is all frustrated,” said Sean. “I just need a place.”

The city has given eviction notices to those who refused to leave. Officials are hoping those who chose to stay Tuesday will comply before having to take any further actions.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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