WATCH: Opposing sides of a supportive housing project for the homeless of Nanaimo both rallied at the planned site Saturday. For and against camps both have supporters but are on very different pages about what the project means for that community.
There is a huge difference in emotions among two camps of Nanaimo residents as a supportive housing project for the homeless gets off the ground.
“I can’t believe it’s going forward,” said Brenda, a neighbour who asked that we not use her last name.
“There’s so much happening… So I’m sick about it,” she said. “I feel helpless that this is gonna happen.”
“I’m very happy,” said supporter Fred Statham.
“I’m very pleased. This is a very good first start,” said Statham.
Saturday opposing sides, for and against the project, rallied at the site at 250 Terminal Avenue. They Shared information from their camps as construction on the provincially funded project moves forward to house the homeless of Nanaimo’s Discontent City before winter.
“I just know that we have an emergency and people are maybe going to freeze to death,” said supporter Terry Lee Wagar.
“And I would like to help them,” said Wagar.
“I don’t want to be fear mongering because people do need homes but is this the right area?” asked neighbour Irene Drange.
“Is this the right location. I don’t know,” she said.
Drange bought her heritage home here a year ago. It’s within sight of the planned supportive housing and says she is now deeply invested and was given no inkling a project like this would be pushed through.
“And we’ve already put in $200,000 in renovations,” said Drange.
“So are we going to get that back? It’s frightening,” said Drange.
The Newcastle Neighbourhood Standards group says neighbours biggest concerns are around safety, property values and that they had no say in whether the project went ahead here.
“The City needs to be anticipating these problems,” said neighbour Karen Kuwica.
“And they need to be preparing residents that they are dealing with them and that isn’t happening,” said Kuwica.
So area residents have launched a lawsuit trying to stop the project, as construction continues around them for the 80 unit modular housing project that’s due to be in place by the end of this month.