City removes substantial homeless encampment near Nanaimo Ice Centre

By Dominic Abassi
August 10, 2018 - 5:56pm

Residents of a homeless encampment along Third St. gathered their belongings in the NIC parking lot Friday afternoon.Ian Holmes/NanaimoNewsNOW

Bylaw officers said it would take some time to clean up all of the garbage from the camp.Ian Holmes/NanaimoNewsNOW

Belongings from a disbanded homeless camp littered the Nanaimo Ice Centre parking lot Friday afternoon.Ian Holmes/NanaimoNewsNOW

The marker at the top of the screen indicates the approximate location of the camp.Google Earth

NANAIMO — The City of Nanaimo has removed a sizable homeless encampment setup along a popular walking trail.

Bylaw officers moved in Friday, Aug. 10 to disband and clean up the camp in bushes along the trail through Third St. Park, near the Nanaimo Ice Centre. A large industrial garbage bin was needed to remove garbage from the area.

The City told NanaimoNewsNOW an estimated 20 people with "lots of belongings" were living in the well-established camp.

Nearby resident Maureen Friesen said she noticed a big increase in people going in and out of the bushes along the trail in the last month.

She said it made her feel unsafe when walking through the area.

"Human feces, cigarette butts, garbage, shopping carts. It's a mess," she said. "I felt like I had to be very, very aware when I walked through in the mornings."

Friesen said she saw everything from old kitchen cabinets to wood and plastic being dragged into the encampment. "I saw people every morning dragging stuff in to the bush."

Loud yelling and large dogs barking could be heard in the area of the camp as RCMP asked its residents to move along on Friday afternoon.

Several of the residents told NanaimoNewsNOW they didn't like the environment in downtown's large homeless encampment, Discontent City, and preferred a smaller group setting. They said the environment in Discontent City was very hectic and claimed it was riddled with thieving and excessive drug use.

One said he planned to go to Colliery Dam Park next.

— with files from Ian Holmes


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On Twitter: @domabassi

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