WATCH: In Nanaimo, a group that feeds the hungry will serve its last supper tonight in its current setting. It’s all because Stone Soup was recently told by the city that its structure needed a building permit. As Kendall Hanson tells us, It’s something they don’t believe is accurate.
Sunday night marks the first anniversary since volunteers started feeding Nanaimo’s hungry an evening meal.
Called Stone Soup, they serve up to 160 people each night but tonight will be the last supper served in their enclosed tent.
“Tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. there’s a crew coming to help take down the wood and we’ll see what happens from there,” said Doug Hiltz of Stone Soup.
Ten days ago the City of Nanaimo notified Stone Soup the structure they operate in, with running water and electricity, needed a building permit and because one wasn’t applied for it would have to come down.
“It would appear that a structure has been erected, a substantial structure, without any request for a building permit from the city so the letter would follow naturally,” said Leonard Krog, Nanaimo’s Mayor in an interview Monday.
The structure is on leased property. The landlord says he never gave permission for it to be built but he’s turned a blind eye until now because he supports the cause.
“It doesn’t fall on the tenant. It falls back to the landlord so that’s why I say I’m in a rock and a hard place,” says Paul Manhas, the owner of Gurdev Holdings.
Paul Manhas says Stone Soup must comply with city regulations or else he’s liable.
But those running the soup kitchen are vowing to continue feeding the hungry.
“We have a plan B and it’s going to be back under tents again for a while until we figure this mess out because legally a tent is not a structure,” said Tanya Hiltz of Stone Soup.
But even if the structure comes down Manhas says continuing a soup kitchen poses problems for his insurance.
“How is the risk is going to be covered? How is my building is covered?” asked Manhas. “My building was rented with the intent of residential tenancy and it doesn’t cover for any of the business being operated on the property so I’m really in a bad situation just as much I like to support the idea.”
Stone Soup volunteers are trying to find alternatives while the city and the property’s landlord says it’s time to find a new location for their good work.