Discontent City held a press conference yesterday explaining a need to expand, then went ahead and pushed the fence further onto City of Nanaimo-owned, Seaspan-leased property. NICHOLAS PESCOD/The News Bulletin

Discontent City expands onto neighbouring property

Fence pushed onto Seaspan lot to accommodate homeless camp’s growth

Discontent City has annexed more land on Nanaimo’s south downtown waterfront.

With the population of the homeless camp having grown this week, Discontent City held a press conference yesterday explaining a need to expand, then went ahead and pushed the fence further onto Seaspan property owned by the City of Nanaimo.

Amber McGrath, one of the organizers of Discontent City, confirmed that occupants of the camp moved the fences onto the Seaspan lot. She said the camp is overpopulated and needs more room in order to comply with a fire safety order issued by the B.C. Supreme Court last month.

“They have pushed back the fence 20 feet because it is the only place to push back the fence that is not going into the train yard,” she said.

McGrath explained that with bylaw officers and Nanaimo RCMP “sending” people to Discontent City and shutting down other camps throughout the city, they had no choice but to expand.

“The RCMP fully admit … that they are telling people that if they want to be in a camp, not being displaced nightly that they are to go to Discontent City, and so we don’t have enough room,” she said.

Police were at the camp for several hours yesterday, said Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman. He said police were called to a disturbance at the camp and remained there keeping the peace.

“There was a little bit of discontent between the original occupiers of this [tent city] and [newcomers] and that came to a head,” he said.

He originally said the newcomers were from the tent city in Saanich, but said it’s been determined that that wasn’t the case.

O’Brien said the RCMP mediated the situation around the fence being moved.

“It ended up Seaspan was agreeable to move the fence back about 50 feet onto their property,” he said.

The News Bulletin has contacted the City of Nanaimo and Seaspan for comment.

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