Discontent City argues that it’s keeping occupants safe

Discontent City argues that it’s keeping occupants safe

Hearing continuing today, July 18, at B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo

Tent city provides significant benefits for its residents without “materially” decreasing the health safety of the surrounding neighbourhood, argued Discontent City this morning in B.C. Supreme Court.

That was one of the main claims made by Noah Ross, the attorney representing a number of occupants at Discontent City, during the second day of a petition hearing on Wednesday at Nanaimo courthouse.

A petition filed in the Supreme Court of British Columbia last month by the City of Nanaimo seeks a statutory injunction to shut down Discontent City and its occupants removed 1 Port Drive.

On Wednesday morning, Justice Ronald Skolrood heard arguments against shutting down Discontent City from Ross, who claimed the camp is a safer alternative for homeless individuals than the current options available in Nanaimo.

“The campers feel a lot safer at the camp,” Ross said. “They feel safer with the community around the camp, and they feel that they are cared for by the community that is there and the services they have access to and they feel better protected.”

Throughout the morning and into the early afternoon, Ross laid out a range of arguments and rebuttals in support of Discontent City. Ross told the court that there is a lot of “conflicting evidence” around the negative impacts of the camp and disputed claims of increased theft in the neighbourhood around the camp.

“There is nothing beyond anecdotal evidence of an increase in theft in Port Place mall or any of the surrounding business areas,” he said. “There has been an increase in calls to the police, but that doesn’t indicate that those calls were well-founded or that any stores specifically have sustained an increase in shoplifting.”

Ross addressed the fire safety issues raised by the city by explaining that Nanaimo Fire Rescue was acting unfairly for telling campers not to have fires and tarps at Discontent City, adding that the city hasn’t even provided fire extinguishers to campers. He also disputed that the site was a fire hazard, that campers are complying with the city’s demands and that there has never been a major fire on the camp.

“There have been no evidence of significant fires on site breaking out,” he said

There were numerous statements and affidavits from nearby residents and business owners, including Lucid, Gabriel’s Gourmet Café, Kismet Theatre Academy and Arbutus Books, presented by Ross as evidence that Discontent City isn’t causing issues downtown.

Ross pointed to a statement from one business owner who said no one is sleeping in the doorway to her business since Discontent City was formed and highlighted a statement from a resident living on Cameron Island, who claims she feels safer with Discontent City.

“I feel safe when I visited Discontent City and I feel safe when I walk to and from my building while at Port Place mall. I am an older lady and I feel safe at the mall and my apartment so it can’t be that dangerous,” according to the woman’s statement, read aloud by Ross.

Should the camp be shut down, the campers will be at greater risk of overdosing, theft, physical and mental abuse according to Ross.

The City of Nanaimo laid out its arguments on the first day of the hearing yesterday.

More to come


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
AUDIO: Interview with broadcaster and Island resident Terry David Mulligan

PQBeat podcast asks Nanoose Bay resident about radio and TV career, wine and more

Paige Karczynski is the new executive director of Nanaimo Community Hospice Society. (Photo submitted)
New executive director leading Nanaimo hospice at a time when grief counselling is greatly needed

Paige Karczynski takes over as Nanaimo Community Hospice Society begins its 40th year

The site of the former Arrowview Hotel, on Second Avenue and Athol Street, as of Jan. 14, 2020. (Elena Rardon/Black Press)
Port Alberni pressures owner of demolished hotel, Lantzville’s Pottie, for final cleanup

Demolition finished in June 2020 but site still full of construction material

Letter writers weigh in on the City of Nanaimo adopting ‘doughnut’ economics as a guiding principle for decision-making.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: City of Nanaimo’s ‘doughnut’ has to be more than empty calories

Letter writers react to city council’s recent decision to adopt ‘doughnut’ economic model

Nanaimo Unique Kids Organization, a non-profit, seeks to raise $8,000 for a play structure to help children remain active during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo Unique Kids Organization asking for help fundraising for play structure

Physical activities have been limited due to COVID-19 restrictions, says non-profit

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

A still from surveillance footage showing a confrontation in the entranceway at Dolly’s Gym on Nicol Street on Friday morning. (Image submitted)
Troublemaker in Nanaimo fails at fraud attempt, slams door on business owner’s foot

VIDEO: Incident happened at Dolly’s Gym on Nicol Street on Friday morning

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19: Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians’ concerns about the drug company’s decision

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on December 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No place for ‘far right’ in Conservative Party, Erin O’Toole says

O’Toole condemned the Capitol attack as ‘horrifying’ and sought to distance himself and the Tories from Trumpism

Jackie Hildering, whale researcher with the Marine Education and Research Society, and Nanaimo Area Land Trust will present the Return of Giants, a webinar about the humpback whales’ return from the brink of extinction and how boaters can help protect them. (Jackie Hildering/MERS photo taken under Marine Mammal License MML-42)
‘Return of the Giants:’ B.C. getting a second chance to coexist with humpback whales

‘Marine Detective’ partners with Nanaimo stewardship group on webinar

Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. travel ban will harm struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

B.C. government would have to show evidence a travel ban is necessary

A 17-year-old snowmobiler used his backcountry survival sense in preparation to spend the night on the mountain near 100 Mile House Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021 after getting lost. (South Cariboo Search and Rescue Facebook photo)
Teen praised for backcountry survival skills after getting lost in B.C.’s Cariboo mountains

“This young man did everything right after things went wrong.”

Cyclists pick up swag and cycling trail maps at city Bike to Work Week ‘celebration station’ a few years ago. (News Bulletin file photo)
City of Nanaimo’s active transportation plan will be about more than infrastructure

City working on goals to double walking trips and quintuple cycling and busing trips

Nanaimo RCMP seek public assistance after numerous tire slashings between Jan. 12-14. (News Bulletin file)
20 tires punctured in ‘slashing spree’ in Nanaimo

Nanaimo RCMP ask for any tips about Jan. 12-14 incidents in Country Club and Boxwood areas

Most Read