An artist rendering of a temporary supportive housing complex at 250 Terminal Ave. (B.C. Housing image)

An artist rendering of a temporary supportive housing complex at 250 Terminal Ave. (B.C. Housing image)

B.C. Housing working to meet timelines on temporary supportive housing in Nanaimo

Construction, co-ordination of services and planning for public process all happening now

B.C. Housing is busy with planning and co-ordinating as two temporary supportive housing projects are being built in Nanaimo before winter starts to set in.

The provincial government announced last month that B.C. Housing will construct 170 units of temporary supportive modular housing in Nanaimo at cost of $1.6 million as part of an effort to house people living at Discontent City.

Construction is currently underway on 80 units of supportive housing at 250 Terminal Ave and as well as at 2020 Labieux Rd., where 90 units are planned.

The Terminal Avenue site, dubbed Newcastle Place, will have secure units, each with a bed, chair and closet, according to B.C. Housing. The site will have shared bathrooms and showers as well a commercial kitchen, dining room, laundry room and lounges.

The Labieux Road project, which will be operated by Pacifica Housing, will have secure units suitable for individuals as well as couples, according to B.C. Housing. There will be shared bathrooms and showers and a common kitchen, dining room and laundry room.

A lawsuit was recently launched in relation to the Terminal Avenue site, alleging that it should be subject to the City of Nanaimo’s rezoning bylaws. Dominic Flanagan, executive director for B.C. Housing, said his organization is aware of the lawsuit. He said he couldn’t comment on whether it would affect the timeline for the Terminal Avenue site.

“It is a bit challenging because it is in a legal process. What I can say is that we are aware of the civil claim and we’ve referred to our legal folks for review but in the meantime, as you will see by the site, the work continues,” he said. “The closer we get to the height of winter, the more challenges we do have.”

B.C. Housing plans to make Newcastle Place a permanent supportive housing site and will need to go through the city’s rezoning process in order to do so, according to Flanagan, who said the Labieux Road site will likely be returned to the city eventually.

“I imagine that will go back to [the city’s] public works department,” he said. “But that will give us a year or two to find other locations for more permanent supportive housing.”

Two petitions opposing the supportive housing projects have also been launched by residents, which Flanagan said he is aware of and understands concerns.

“There is a lot of community concern when we do supportive housing, whether it is Maple Ridge, Kelowna, Nanaimo, Victoria; we hear those concerns. There are some common themes around crime, safety and drug use,” he said.

RELATED: B.C. government providing temporary housing units to Nanaimo’s homeless

RELATED: Nanaimo woman takes legal action against temporary supportive housing

In order to address concerns in the community, B.C. Housing is hosting eight public engagement sessions in Nanaimo, where residents will get to ask questions and hear more information about the two supportive housing sites. There will also be a live online question-and-answer session on Nov. 22. Flanagan said he couldn’t disclose the locations for the planned public engagement sessions at the moment, but will do so closer to the date. He said multiple engagement sessions are planned to give more people a chance to have their voices heard in smaller settings.

“I think what happens, not all the time, but in some of the larger sessions, people get frustrated because there are so many people and you only have like two to three minutes for a question … so I think breaking it down into nine or 10 sessions across the city allows for a bit more in-depth and richer dialogue to happen,” Flanagan said.

The Terminal Avenue and Labieux Road sites also have what are known as community advisory committees that will meet once a month and will be made up of nearby residents, police, Island Health, B.C. Housing, city staffers and others, according to Flanagan. He also said there will also be on-site security at both locations.

“We will have the security as long as it is needed,” he said. “We will have security at the start and often we see people move in and the site starts to settle down. I think a lot depends on what happens in the first few weeks. I think based on our other housing models and based on the experience of someone like Pacifica and Island Crisis Care Society, we’re confident that these will provide safe, supportive housing.”

He said B.C. Housing’s energy and attention is focused on getting the modular housing up and running and working with the non-profits, Island Health and other partners to make sure supports are in place.

Flanagan said there are 117 people currently living at Discontent City, but couldn’t say how many of them have applied and how many have qualified for housing at either Nanaimo site.

“There are number of people at tent city who are working but can’t find affordable housing or have struggled to find affordable housing,” he said. “They may have other issues as well but I think what this type of housing does is it provides that sense of stability and permanency which really then give the person the opportunity to turn their life around.”

Discontent City is slated to be closed Nov. 30 and the City of Nanaimo decreased the size of the camp last week as one of the steps in dismantling that site.

For more information on B.C. Housing’s public engagement sessions or both supportive housing projects, visit 
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Seventy-four international students are expected to come to Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district for the last half of the 2020021 school year, says the district. (School District 68 image)
Nanaimo school district educating 160 international students during pandemic school year

Fifty-seven students from abroad arrived Jan. 14-18, says SD68

Rendering of two residential buildings proposed for the corner of Haliburton and Milton streets. (Matthew T. Hansen Architect image)
Two five-storey residential buildings approved for Haliburton Street

City council issues development permit for 79-unit complex at Haliburton and Milton

Ty Wesley, Nicole Darlington and Cameron Macaulay (from left) performed in the Beholder Entertainment production <em>Gender Sucks!</em> in the 2020 Nanaimo Fringe Festival. (Video still courtesy Sam Wharram)
Nanaimo Fringe Festival artist lottery open to local and B.C. playwrights

Organizers hope to stage plays in-person at indoor and outdoor venues this summer

Nanaimo RCMP investigated after a threat was made at Woodgrove Centre on Tuesday, Jan. 19. (News Bulletin file photo)
Threat directed at Woodgrove Centre, Nanaimo RCMP investigating

Officers have searched areas of the mall accessible to shoppers and have deemed it safe

(News Bulletin file photo)
Car crashes along the Nanaimo Parkway, driver abandons vehicle

Mazda with ‘extensive damage’ found in the ditch in the early-morning hours Jan. 19

Syringe is prepared with one of B.C.’s first vials of Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload stays steady with 465 more Tuesday

No new outbreaks in health care facilities, 12 more deaths

Stand up paddleboarder Christie Jamieson is humbled to her knees as a pod of transient orcas put on a dramatic show on Jan. 19 in the Ucluelet Harbour. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Ucluelet paddle boarder surrounded by pod of orcas

“My whole body is still shaking. I don’t even know what to do with this energy.”

Inmates at Metchosin’s William Head Institution are being given COVID-19 vaccines as part of the first phase. Around 600 inmates will be vaccinated in the coming days. (Black Press Media file photo)
William Head prison inmates in receive first doses of COVID vaccine

Priority set for older inmates and those with underlying medical conditions

Vancouver Island University. (File photo)
Province announces funding for VIU to train mental health workers

Provincial government says pandemic has intensified need for mental health supports

A mattress on fire gutted the second floor hallway at Town Park Apartments C-block Jan. 17. (Port Hardy Fire Rescue images)
‘Suspicious’ Port Hardy apartment fire could keep tenants out of their homes for months

A burning mattress created smoke and heat, causing several tenants to jump from windows

A Courtenay resident labours to remove the snow build-up from around her car in February 2019. The area may see snow throughout the coming weekend. Black Press file photo
Snow, winter might not be done with Vancouver Island quite yet

Flurries, snow and cold temps predicted for the weekend for mid-Island

The City of Nanaimo’s Community Services Building at 285 Prideaux St., where the 7-10 Club is located, will host a warming centre seven days a week through March 31. (City of Nanaimo photo)
Warming centres for people experiencing homelessness open today in Nanaimo

City of Nanaimo and social agencies partnering on Wallace and Prideaux locations

Egg producers in B.C. aren’t obligated to reveal their production sites. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)
Officials say there’s not enough Vancouver Island eggs to meet demand

BC Egg Marketing Board doesn’t regulate labelling, supply needed from off-Island

New Westminster TV production designer, Rick Whitfield, has designed an office in a box for British Columbians in need of a private workspace. (BC Box Office photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. man designs ‘box office’ solution for those working from home

‘A professionally designed workspace on your property, away from the distractions of home’

Most Read