Homeless camp in Nanaimo will stay at least into July


WATCH: Nanaimo’s growing homeless camp will remain for at least another three weeks after a judge refused to grant an emergency injunction to deal with it.
The injunction would have seen evidence to remove the camp presented in court this week. Instead, the hearing has been scheduled for July 16.

Justice Robin Baird said he didn’t see adequate evidence of the urgency to push the Nanaimo tent city case ahead of other matters and into a courtroom this week.

“The court wasn’t convinced that there was urgency in the matter,” said Timothy Huntsman, the lawyer appearing for several homeless campers. “And as such the City of Nanaimo like everybody else should comply with the rules of court and the Supreme Court rules in particular,” said Huntsman.

So it will be July 16 before the city can present its case to have it removed.

“So it’s been now fixed,” said Troy DeSouza, lawyer for the City of Nanaimo.

“There’s some date certainty here and we’re gonna go to court.”

However, neighbouring businesses and residents tell CHEK News there is urgency because the camp that set up across from Port Place Mall on May 17 has become a danger to them. Many are so worried about violence from the homeless campers that they would speak only off camera to CHEK News. Stephen Vaverik who works downtown says he is one of many who wants the camp removed.

“It’s very tense now,” said Vaverik.

“We’ve had customers verbally and physically assaulted, staff members assaulted. It’s coming to a head I think one way or another.”

That’s part of the evidence that DeSouza will present in court.

“The impact on the community, the impact that we’ve been having from witnesses, residents, business, the RCMP,” said DeSouza.

Many of the homeless at the tent city say those problems are caused by addictions and mental illness and have always been here. They also said the problems are now out in the open and can be dealt with for good.

“I don’t think they’re going to get away with sweeping it under the rug anymore,” said homeless man Dean Kory.

“We’ve got the judiciary on our side.”

The homeless in Nanaimo’s Discontent City and the City of Nanaimo will face off in court over two days, beginning July 16.

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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