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

Just Posted

Multiple arrests made at Tour de Rock jail-and-bail fundraiser in Nanaimo

Suspects make bail in support of Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock on Wednesday at Woodgrove Centre

Big top set up in north Nanaimo as circus comes to town

American Crown Circus Circo Osorio will be at Woodgrove Centre from Sept. 19-23

Nanaimo area United Way kicks off fundraising campaign

Money raised benefits many, including those affected by opioid crisis

Council adopts whistleblower policy for City of Nanaimo

Policy designed to protect staff members who wish to report potential wrongdoing

‘I shouldn’t have done it,’ Trudeau says of brownface photo

Trudeau says he also wore makeup while performing a version of a Harry Belafonte song

Nanaimo Search and Rescue to build a long-term base in Harewood

Group will sign 25-year co-management agreement for Fourth Street rec centre

35 of 87 dogs in 2018 Williams Lake seizure were euthanized due to behavioural issues, BCSPCA confirm

The dogs did not respond to the behaviour modification and remained terrified of humans

B.C. ‘tent city’ disputes spark call for local government autonomy

UBCM backs Maple Ridge after province overrules city

B.C. drug dealers arrested after traffic stop near Banff turns into helicopter pursuit

Antonio Nolasco-Padia, 23, and Dina Anthony, 55, both well-known to Chilliwack law enforcement

B.C. MLA calls on province to restrict vaping as first related illness appears in Canada

Todd Stone, Liberal MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson, introduced an anti-vaping bill in April

Chilliwack woman wins right to medically assisted death after three-year court battle

Julia Lamb has been the lead plaintiff in a legal battle to ease restrictions on Canada’s assisted dying laws

B.C. bus crash survivor petitions feds to fix road where classmates died

UVic student’s petition well over halfway to 5k signature goal

Most Read