Neighbour lauches lawsuit regarding supportive housing project in Nanaimo


WATCH: Neighbours are up in arms about a supportive housing development in Nanaimo. The province is planning to build 80 units at the Terminal Avenue site to help those at Nanaimo’s tent city. But some neighbours have signed a petition against it and one has even levelled a lawsuit to try and stop construction. Kendall Hanson reports.

Construction is moving ahead quickly as the deadline fast approaches for new homes to be built at this Terminal Avenue site.

80 units OF temporary modular housing are supposed to be ready for when Nanaimo’s tent city closes at the end of the month.

But many neighbours are upset. They say the province is pushing the project through and there has been no consultation like there would have been for a normal development.

Now one neighbour, named Janet Buechler, is going to court.

“The essence is to clarify whether or not zoning bylaws do or do not apply to the entity that will be operating that is using the site,” said Martin Buhler, of rlr Lawyers.

She’s not the only one trying to stop the housing here, 536 PEOPLE have signed a petition against the relocation of tent city residents to this site. The lawsuit is also on their behalf.

“It’s kind of like a class action but not exactly,” said Buhler. “The idea is that one person steps forward and brings the case on their own behalf and also for everyone else who falls within the class that would have that common interest and who would interested in having had that common question of law decided.”

Nanaimo’s new mayor says he expects the lawsuit will fail.

“Based on what I know I doubt they will be successful but I appreciate their concerns,” said Leonard Krog, Nanaimo’s Mayor. “But I’m hoping over time they like other neighbourhoods in the city will come to realize that even on a temporary basis, let alone a permanent basis, these types of supportive housing units work.”

But not everyone in the neighbourhood is against the housing project.

One group has formed to greet and give care packages to the tent city residents when they move in.

“We wanted to do something to welcome the people in because so often with this sort of thing there’s a response of ‘good idea but not in our neighbourhood,'” said Kate Burns, of Friends of 250. “And we wanted to say ‘good idea and in our neighbourhood’.”

Kate Burns lives just two blocks away. She’s not surprised by the lawsuit but believes when neighbours see the project go in most of their fears will disappear.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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