Nanaimo gives land to help house those at its tent city


WATCH: The countdown is on until those staying at Nanaimo’s tent city must move on. There are 12 days left until the city can force the campers to leave. But there appears to be a plan to prevent the tent city occupants from just being forced back onto the street. Kendall Hanson reports.

A deadline to leave Nanaimo’s tent city continues to hang over its residents and they’re keeping a close eye on the calendar.

“Today’s the 1st so 12 more days,” said Gina Watson.

Watson has been here since the tent city was set up five months ago.

She says she plans to leave before the deadline.

“I don’t want all my stuff taken,” said Watson. “That’s all I have left.”

But in a tent city that has grown to an estimated 300 residents, others are vowing to stay put.

“I haven’t heard much word about people moving at all so I don’t think they’re very concerned about it,” said Watson. “I guess safety in numbers right.”

Nanaimo’s mayor says the city is also working on a deadline, trying to provide shelter for all those forced to leave the encampment.

“We have provided a piece of property to BC Housing,” said Bill McKay, Nanaimo’s Mayor. “We’ve said ‘here’s one that we’re prepared to let you use,’ on a short-term basis, as they’ve requested.”

The city isn’t disclosing where the land is but expect its location will be released in the next few days.

It’s welcome news for those at the tent city.

“That’s awesome. That’s really great,” said Watson. “Hopefully we’ll know before then so maybe I can move there instead of somewhere else. I’m not sure where I’ll be.”

In the meantime, campers are being provided with meals and a city bus is being used by Island Health outreach teams

“We don’t know what they’re proposing as far as shelter whether it be sprung tents or whether it be mobile units, construction trailers, those sorts of things like they did in Surrey,” said McKay. “But it’s an immediate need so we did give them a piece.”

Nanaimo council is learning more about the plans for those at tent city from BC Housing and more details may be released following those meetings.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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