Debbie Dalbock is raising concerns about the new supportive housing project in Nanaimo based on what she has been seeing outside her work window.
“It’s awful, said Dalbock. “It’s awful,” she said.
From brazen daylight drug dealing and theft to people jumping the fence to avoid security, she said it’s non-stop.
“They don’t seem to care,” said the Nanaimo resident.
“Absolutely brazen and threatening. I wish we could move. I wish we could work somewhere else.”
Holes have been dug out below the site’s fence that residents in the surrounding neighbourhood said are for quick exits that avoid security checks at the front gate.
“It appears to me that there is no control, said Nanaimo lawyer Sanford Bartlett, whose office is next door.
“There’s cop cars here all the time, there’s ambulances here all the time,” said Dalbock.
Dalbock works for Bartlett, who said not in all the 26 years his office has been at its Vancouver Avenue location has seen anything like the crime affecting his neighbourhood since the supportive housing project opened at 250 Terminal Avenue in December.
“We videotape people actually stealing things from my backyard,” said Bartlett.
Nanaimo Mayor Leonard Krog says the city has heard residents’ complaints loud and clear and is demanding BC Housing tighten controls at the site that’s housing homeless from Nanaimo’s Discontent City.
“They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions,” said Krog.
“This went too fast and it has produced some real problems, unfortunately.”
BC Housing said the project has been a learning experience since staff had to respond so quickly to the court order to find housing for Discontent City’s homeless.
A contractor is now looking at fixing this fence to improve security and officials insist positive things are happening here.
“We’re hearing real successes about the residents who have been placed there, stories about folks who have been sober since they moved in, ” said BC Housing’s Heidi Hartman.
Neighbours say they’re glad to hear the success stories, but aren’t seeing this as a success yet from where they stand.