Nanaimo’s DisconTent City now officially closed


WATCH: Nanaimo’s DisconTent City has officially closed. By Friday evening everyone had been moved out and the fence was locked. Today Kendall Hanson talked with some involved in the occupation, which lasted seven months.

DisconTent City has officially shut down.

Its residents have moved on and most tents have been taken down.

It’s positive, says one neighbour who wasn’t sure whether B.C.’s largest tent city would ever close.

“I’m pleased that this is going to be a win-win for everybody,” said Rich Holmboe. “That these people who don’t want to be here have a place to go and their neighbours have a chance to have things calm down for them and get more back into a routine life.”

Last week most residents finished moving into supportive housing at 250 Terminal or at Labieux Road.

Even today crews are working on their completion.

On Friday after the final people left the tent city an excavator was helping clean up the city’s lot but not everyone had retrieved all their possessions. The city ended up stopping and locking the site. By Saturday morning some had found their way back in.

Gina Watson, who’s lived at DisconTent City since the beginning, says she returned today to help clean up.

“It’s pretty sad actually,” said Watson. “A lot of people are driving by and they just see that and it’s like of course, they don’t want us around their neighbourhoods. If this is what it looks like now right? So they’ll just think that’s what their neighbourhood is going to look like but I hope not.”

Watson has a place at the Labieux supportive housing site and says while it’s a big improvement any change isn’t easy.

“It’s a roof over our head and a bathroom so a lot better than this for sure,” said Watson.

Terry Lee Wagar spent hundreds of hours supporting DisconTent City.

He says while tent city was disliked by many it’s proven to have been worthwhile for those who needed a home.

“It really brought it into the public eye you know the homeless situation. It could not be ignored anymore and it forced something to be done,” said Wagar.

He says, unfortunately, a number of people are still sleeping on the street.

BC Housing is planning to update media Monday morning on how the move went and how many have been housed.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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