Tent city fence moved back under watchful eye of Nanaimo RCMP, bylaw

By NanaimoNewsNOW Staff
September 13, 2018 - 12:34pm Updated: September 13, 2018 - 5:52pm

Nanaimo RCMP and bylaw at Discontent City, moving the blue fence back to where it originally was.Spencer Sterritt/NanaimoNewsNOW

NANAIMO — The expansion of downtown Nanaimo's tent city was short lived, as crews moved in to put a fence back where it orginally was. 

City of Nanaimo staff, bylaw and Nanaimo RCMP were at the encampment midday Thursday to reposition the fence. It was moved roughly 20 feet by Discontent City residents Wednesday night to create more room, which residents said was needed due to an influx of new campers. 

The fence is now back to the original spot and is reinforced with several yellow cement barriers to prevent it from being moved again. 

As tent city grows, a call is scheduled between Nanaimo mayor Bill McKay and B.C.'s municipal affairs and housing minister Selina Robinson. 

"We need help in a big way. I don't think the minister realizes how serious this is getting," McKay told NanaimoNewsNOW.

As the City tries to engage in more conversation about tent city, a second provincial fire safety order was issued to the camp on Thursday. 

Nanaimo Fire Rescue chief Karen Fry told NanaimoNewsNOW "there have been additional items since the original order, dated May 30, that we've identified. We have had a fire related to an explosion inside a tent." 

Fry said with the increase in tents comes an increase in dangerous items and flammable materials. 

Efforts to enforce the first provincial fire order were denied by B.C. Supreme Court Justince Ronald Skolrood, who's also weighing an injunction filed against the camp. It's unclear when Skolrood will rule on the injunction request.

"An order authorizing the arrest of someone for refusing to remove a tarp or for positioning a tent too close to a neighbouring tent, which is what the order sought to permit, is in my view excessive," Skolrood said at the time on Aug. 13.

Fry couldn't say whether the City would attempt to go to court again over their second fire safety order.

NanaimoNewsNOW has reached out to camp organizers for comment. 


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