1 Port Drive Tent Encampment


The tent city (or encampment) at 1 Port Drive was established by activists in late May 2018 and quickly grew to become the largest in British Columbia.

Concerned about public safety, the City applied to the BC Supreme Court for orders allowing for eviction of trespassers and enforcement of Fire Safety Orders. On October 19, 2018, the City was granted the ability to enforce fire safety orders and undertake other measures to improve safety for campers and for neighbouring residents and businesses and close the camp after November 30, 2018.

Tent city occupants will begin leaving 1 Port Drive on November 30 with relocation expected to be complete in the following week. Once occupants have left the site, City work crews will close and secure the site and clear it of debris and any remaining structures.

Closing tent city for the safety of occupants and neighbouring residents and business has been the City’s goal since the camp first opened in May 2018.

Achieving closure in a relatively short time compared to other encampments in BC cities is the result of close collaboration among all participating agencies and government bodies.

Under pressure to meet Court-ordered time lines to close the camp, the City, BC Housing, local charities and social service agencies moved quickly to find solutions for the many homeless people living at 1 Port Drive.

BC Housing purchased and reconditioned existing workforce housing from outside the region and worked with the City of Nanaimo and social service agencies and other partners to install the housing and operate it. BC Housing is also funding rent subsidies for camp occupants who do not require social or health supports, and paid for additional outreach workers for Nanaimo-area homeless people.

City of Nanaimo made land available on a portion of the public works yard at Labieux Road for some temporary units with the remainder installed at land BC Housing purchased at 250 Terminal Avenue. St. Peter’s church in partnership with the Nanaimo Women's Resources Society and the Nanaimo Citizen Advocacy Association is providing additional shelter beds for those in our community who are in need.

Temporary Modular Housing

BC Housing, a provincial crown corporation, acquired modular housing units as a temporary solution for tent city occupants and purchased land at 250 Terminal Avenue for this purpose. The City has made land available for additional temporary units at an unused portion of the City’s Public Works yard at 2020 Labieux Road.

Non-profit housing providers Island Crisis Care and Pacifica Housing will manage Terminal Avenue and Labieux Road, respectively, on a 24/7 basis. Additional support to residents will be provided by Island Health and other social service agencies at no cost to the City.

Labieux Road Temporary Supportive Housing Fact Sheet

Terminal Avenue Temporary Supportive Housing Fact Sheet

Questions about the new, supportive, temporary housing provided by BC Housing at 250 Terminal Avenue or Labieux Road should be directed to: communityrelations@bchousing.org

In providing a rapid response to homelessness in Nanaimo, BC Housing has invoked the authority of the Province and therefore will not seek City of Nanaimo approval for their temporary housing projects at 250 Terminal Avenue, and at the portion of the City’s public works yard at 2020 Labieux Road.   

BC Housing has publicly stated their intention to comply with City requirements and obtain approvals for permanent supportive housing that may be built in Nanaimo.

BC Housing website

Island Crisis Care website

Pacifica Housing website

Frequently Asked Questions

Please have a read through of a list of Frequently Asked Questions (updated November 22, 2018)


December 10, 2018
The tent city located at 1 Port Drive officially closed with campers successfully moving into the temporary supportive housing units on Terminal Avenue and Labieux Road or making use of available shelter beds.

BC Housing News Release: More than 150 people move out of tents and into supportive housing in Nanaimo

December 1, 2018
A new winter shelter, The Centre Shelter, opened it's doors. The co-ed shelter located in St. Peter's Church on Machleary Street has 35 shelter beds and will be open from December to March. 

More information and a list of shelters

November 30, 2018
Tent city occupants will begin leaving 1 Port Drive beginning November 30, 2018 with relocation expected to be complete in the following week. Once occupants have left the site, City work crews will close and secure the site and clear it of debris and any remaining structures.

Statement: Port Drive tent city closing

November 29, 2018
BC Housing hosted a number of community dialogue sessions as well as a live online Q&A session about the temporary modular housing on Labieux and Terminal. To view a recording of the live online session and for more information on the community dialogues sessions, visit: https://letstalkhousingbc.ca/nanaimo 

Information Session Handout

More information can be found on the BC Housing website at: https://www.bchousing.org/partner-services/public-engagement/projects/nanaimo-supportive-housing

October 19, 2018
Occupants of the tent city encampment at 1 Port Drive can stay on the site until November 30, 2018, after the Honourable Justice Ronald Skolrood issued a second order in BC Supreme Court today in response to an application from lawyer Noah Ross, representing some occupants of the tent city. The order includes conditions that will improve the safety of residents in the tent city, and those who live and work nearby. Most of the conditions set by Nanaimo City Council to permit the extension of the Court’s deadline for closing the encampment at 1 Port Drive were included in the order.

News Release: Court extends deadline for tent city closure with City's preferred conditions

October 16, 2018

Nanaimo City Council voted last night to oppose a further extension of the deadline to close Tent City. In the event the Court extends the deadline for occupants to vacate the tent city, the City seeks conditions to improve public safety and prevent more people from moving onto 1 Port Drive.

News Release: City sets expectations for Court-ordered application and Tent City closure

October 15, 2018
Clean-up continues at 1 Port Drive pending Court outcome

City Council agreed to defer the closure of tent city until a new application filed by the lawyer representing some occupants of the encampment on Oct. 12, is heard on Oct. 19 at 9 am.

The Nanaimo tent city at 1 Port Drive was established by activists in mid-May 2018.  Soon after the illegal encampment began, the City of Nanaimo applied to the Supreme Court for an injunction aimed at closing down and removing the ‘tent city’.  

On Sept. 21, the Court granted the City an interim injunction allowing the RCMP to begin closing the camp, but with a 21-day notice period so that campers could disperse in an orderly way.

Since May, the City has been working with BC Housing and service agencies to find immediate and lasting solutions for the many vulnerable people living at 1 Port Drive and in other smaller camps around the city. 

BC Housing announced Oct. 5 that they would provide 170 units of temporary, modular housing to be placed at two locations in Nanaimo, and stated that future permanent supportive housing would be constructed at 250 Terminal Avenue. Letters from BC Housing were sent to residents near both sites.

The lawyer representing some tent city occupants filed an application with the Supreme Court Oct. 12, requesting that tent city occupants be allowed to remain at 1 Port Drive until Dec. 31, 2018 by which time the 170 units of temporary, modular housing are expected to be ready for occupancy.

The Court agreed to hear the application at 9 am Friday, Oct. 19. Respecting the Court’s process, City Council voted to defer the existing court order for closure until after the outcome of the new application is known. The City will file its response to the Court application on Tues. Oct 16.

Closure is still Council’s goal, and public safety remains a critical concern. Council will deliberate on its response to the application and continues to seek support from the Provincial government to meet the rising costs associated with the encampment.

Over the past two weeks there are more public health nurses, social workers and outreach workers at 1 Port Drive daily to provide medical and other supports and to assist camp occupants to move away from the site. In addition, City and agency staff are ensuring recreational and other vehicles on the site are removed and do not return.

Today, only a few vehicles remain on the site, and their owners plan to remove them very soon. The number of tents and campers at 1 Port Drive has decreased over the past week with no visible increase in disruption to downtown businesses.

City staff provide garbage removal, sanitary services and potable water as required to maintain public health. RCMP and Bylaw officers attend the site regularly to provide security for City staff and to respond to calls for assistance or reports of possible crimes and bylaw infractions. 

On Oct. 1, Council approved spending for additional security, needle pick-up and street cleaning in Nanaimo’s downtown and extended custodial and garbage removal in City parks, in recognition of the ongoing impact of the downtown tent city and other homeless camps.

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.

Thank you for your patience as we work towards closing the camp.

October 12, 2018
Today, the Supreme Court of British Columbia received an application from Noah Ross, the lawyer representing some occupants of the tent city encampment on 1 Port Drive. The application for an extension to closing the encampment will be heard at 9:00 am on Friday, October 19, 2018. The City is respecting the court's need to consider the application and will defer the existing court order for closure until the outcome of the application is known.  

Statement: Council defers tent city closure pending outcome of court application

October 11, 2018
Resource centre tents set up at 1 Port Drive for service providers

The City has set up a number of tents along Esplanade Street to use as a resource centre to help occupants of the encampment access services and make plans to relocate from 1 Port Drive. The resource centre will be set up daily from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm. As a result, Esplanade between Crace and Front Streets will be closed to traffic daily from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm and detour routes will be in place on Crace Street (see map below). Please note, all businesses in the area remain open.


October 9, 2018

City welcomes temporary solutions from BC Housing

Temporary housing solutions are a welcome step towards housing Nanaimo’s most vulnerable homeless people, especially as the City prepares to enforce the Supreme Court decision to order occupants to vacate 1 Port Drive on October 12.

Last week BC Housing announced they would put 170 temporary modular housing units on two sites.  One site is part of the City’s public works yard on Labieux Road. BC Housing purchased land at 250 Terminal for the temporary modular units and will construct permanent social housing there.

The City is working closely with the Province to ensure the installation of the modular units will occur as quickly as possible.

The City is pursuing a phased, structured approach to ensuring occupants move away from 1 Port Drive, in compliance with the court decision that ordered the occupants to vacate the site, take their belongings with them and refrain from re-entering the property.

The cost of the temporary housing and its operations will be borne by BC Housing, not the City of Nanaimo.  Longer term housing solutions are also BC Housing’s responsibility.

BC Housing is taking applications for housing from homeless people at 1 Port Place.  The City has been assured that they will give priority to those who are most suitable for the type of temporary housing at the Labieux Road and Terminal Avenue sites.

The FAQs have been updated to reflect recent developments:

Updated Frequently Asked Questions

October 4
Information letters were sent by BC Housing to neighbours of the future sites of temporary modular housing on Terminal Avenue and Labieux Road. Copies of the letters can be viewed below.

Letter to neighbours of Labieux Rd

Letter to neighbours of Terminal Rd

October 3, 2018
At their regular meeting on Monday, October 1, Council approved a total of $301,800 for extra cleaning and security in downtown Nanaimo and city parks. 

Council approves extra downtown and parks security and cleaning

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: December 11, 2018

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