1 Port Drive Tent Encampment

Overview

A growing crisis in housing affordability, mental health and addictions has driven many British Columbians into homelessness. The results are evident in cities across the province with highly-visible encampments or tent cities that are often organized or supported by social activists who typically do not live among the homeless.

The Nanaimo tent city (or encampment) at 1 Port Drive was established by activists in late May 2018 and is an ongoing concern for residents, businesses and City Council and staff.  

The City of Nanaimo is primarily concerned with public health and safety and is working to find immediate and lasting solutions for the many vulnerable people living in tents, and for those most affected by their presence there.

Through the courts, the City has tried to enforce fire safety orders and sought approval to evict campers from the site. At the same time, City staff have been working with provincial government service agencies to find solutions and address critical health and safety issues.

Public safety is the top priority. If you see something suspicious or to report a crime please call Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345. To report an emergency or crime in progress please call 9-1-1.

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work to close the camp. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Please have a read through of a list of Frequently Asked Questions

Timeline

September 21, 2018
Today, the Honourable Justice Skolrood issued his decision regarding City of Nanaimo's application for an injunction to close the encampment at 1 Port Drive. 

Judge Skolrood re Nanaimo (City) v. Courtoreille 09-21 (002)

Statement: City will work to close tent city in an orderly way

September 19, 2018
Public Safety and Social Services Downtown Security Dialogue 

City staff hosted a dialogue session with about 20 representatives from residents’ groups, community organizations and business owners near the tent city at 1 Port Drive to share information and hear concerns about security and safety.

Staff explained the scope of laws governing activities on public land and the City’s actions to date, including collaborating with the provincial agencies providing social services on the site. 

Fire Services and RCMP officers reported on their frequent visits to the tent city to try to reduce the risk of fire and to identify and address criminal behaviour and offenders.

Resident and business group representatives expressed concern and frustration with the impact of crime, public disorder, discarded needles and other health hazards arising from the concentration of homeless people downtown. The costs to business include loss of customers, theft and staff fearing for their safety and requiring escorts to leave work at night.

September 17, 2018
At the Regular Council meeting on Monday, September 17, 2018, the Mayor provided a statement on the 1 Port Drive encampment during the Mayor's Report.  

Mayor's Report for September 17, 2018 Council meeting

Council also unanimously approved an Affordable Housing Strategy for Nanaimo and endorsed an action plan to end homelessness.  The priority of the strategy is to increase the supply of rental housing. The action plan supports the affordable housing strategy.

Nanaimo Affordable Housing Strategy

Nanaimo's Action Plan to End Homelessness 2018-2023

September 13, 2018
The City issued a new provincial fire order to occupants of the encampment due to increased fire and public safety risks. 

City works to reduce fire and other safety risks at homeless camp

July 31, 2018
The City filed an application to enforce conditions of the Fire Order placed on occupants of the tent city after inspections found the encampment to be in non-compliance. This request for enforcement was denied.

City to seek enforcement for tent city Fire Order

City responds to fire order non-compliance in tent city at 1 Port Drive

July 18, 2018
A two-day hearing in BC Supreme Court on the merits of an injunction to evict occupants of the 1 Port Drive tent city concluded. The The Honourable Mr. Justice Skolrood reserved his decision for a later date. In the meantime, an interim order for occupants of 1 Port Drive to comply with a number of fire and life safety requirements was made by the judge. 

Update on Discontent City court hearing

July 5, 2018
Island Health issued a Hazard Abatement and Prevention Order to the City with respect to the 1 Port Drive tent city. The Order required the City to provide free-flowing potable water, additional porta-potties and hand sanitizing stations.

City responds to Hazard Abatement and Prevention Order

City to comply with tent city Health Order

July 4, 2018
Additional shelter space was made available in the Nanaimo Unitarian Shelter.

Additional shelter space now available

June 28, 2018
Nanaimo Fire Rescue crews responded to a structure fire in the 1 Port Drive tent city. 

Crews respond to fire at tent city

June 26, 2018
A court date for the injunction hearing was set for the week of July 16, 2018. 

Supreme Court hearing on tent city set

June 12, 2018
City Council chooses to proceed to court to seek an injunction to evict occupants at the 1 Port Drive tent city.

Council moves forward to address tent city

May 25, 2018 Council passes motion at an In Camera meeting to issue trespass notices to occupants of tent city.

Update on actions taken to address tent city

Council passes motion for action on tent city

May 18, 2018
Activists cut locks and breach perimetre fencing at 1 Port Drive to establish encampment.

Last updated: September 21, 2018

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