Housing announcement shocks Nanaimo neighbours again

WatchNanaimo neighbours say they weren't consulted about the modular housing built 20 months ago or the permanent housing that will replace it.

Neighbours of temporary modular housing say they’re concerned about what permanent housing at the site will bring.

On Monday, the province and the City of Nanaimo announced plans to build 300 much-needed homes in the harbour city.

Many are applauding the news but some neighbours say this feels like deja-vu after temporary modular housing was put in 20 months ago.

Homeless for years Sara Ladret says the new homes are needed as living on the street is tough.

“It’s not a game. It’s not fun. This isn’t playtime,” said Ladret.

The 42-year-old is among those who would like to get into supportive housing and turn her life around.

“I don’t know where else to be. Where I fit in properly where I know how to run my life. I don’t know how to live normally,” said Ladret.

On Monday the province announced 300 new homes at six locations throughout Nanaimo.

The new units will provide low-income and supportive housing for the homeless.

“To have 300 homes announced on one day is huge after Nanaimo waiting a really long time maybe the most significant though is that we got city council and some really good partners on board and that’s where we got into trouble after tent city,” said Sheila Malcolmson, Nanaimo’s MLA.

Malcolmson says the housing will be permanent and will be built and run in a proper way bringing the total permanent homes her government has built or is building in Nanaimo to 850.

But for those living near what was supposed to be temporary modular homes learning now that permanent housing will be built on the site is a shock.

“There was no consultation for the temporary housing and there’s been no consultation for the permanent housing yet,” said Fred MacDonald of the Newcastle Community Association.

MacDonald says every month since the modular housing was put in 20 months ago, has been a challenge for the neighbourhood. He says the past month of June was the worst on record leaving them wondering what the new permanent announced housing will mean.

“Very mixed emotions really. Of course, we’re all happy that this sub-standard housing facility is going to be removed from the neighbourhood but we’re worried about the replacement,” said MacDonald.

Nanaimo’s mayor says there are homes to help vulnerable people throughout the city and with an estimated 600 homeless it’s all needed.

“Do you want people sleeping in doorways, living in tents, living in tiny wooded areas in your neighbourhood without supervision, without contact, without supports or would you prefer to have them in some kind of supportive housing unit where they’re looked after, cared for and monitored?” said Leonard Krog, Nanaimo’s mayor.

Back on the street, Ladret says the announcement is great but she asks what will happen to those who still won’t get a place to call home.

The BC Government’s news release can be found here.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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