Discontent City. (News Bulletin file)

Final cleanup brought Discontent City costs up to more than $466K

Figure doesn’t include policing costs and city legal fees

An illegal homeless encampment cost Nanaimo taxpayers nearly a little less than half a million dollars once it was all cleaned up.

The City of Nanaimo spent a total of $466,194 on costs associated with Discontent City, according to financial statements obtained by the News Bulletin through a freedom of information request.

Costs will likely be significantly higher as legal fees were redacted by the city, which cited solicitor-client privilege in its response. Policing costs associated with Discontent City were also not included, though they were requested by the News Bulletin.

Discontent City was established on 1 Port Dr. in May and was dismantled in mid-December following a B.C. Supreme Court ruling that allowed the city to evict the occupants and destroy the homeless camp, which became home to more than 300 people.

Staffing was the biggest expense according to the statements, which show that staff time cost the city $225,537 in wages. The city also paid $68,155 in cleanup costs and $15,229 for “outreach” costs. A communications consultant cost taxpayers $45,797 while compliance with fire safety orders cost $10,843.

Other expenses listed include $8,290 for traffic control services, $1,245 for totes, $3,416 for portable toilets and $6,371 for what is listed as “fence inspection/issues and site access.” The removal of the front gate at Discontent City in June cost taxpayers $872.

In addition to the nearly $500,000 spent on Discontent City, a $301,000 closure plan for the Port Drive camp was approved by councillors in October. Those measures included needle pickup, downtown security, garbage pickup, additional security and cleanup in the downtown core and increased parks staff.

RELATED: Discontent City costs exceed $100,000

Laura Mercer, the city’s acting director of financial services, told the News Bulletin that all figures provided are final totals for costs associated with the Discontent City from the time it opened until it was shut down and fully dismantled. Mercer also said she could not provide an estimate for policing or legal costs and doesn’t know whether they will be disclosed in the near future.

“I couldn’t give an estimate but I would assume once the legal is all wrapped up on this, it might be something that is released,” she said.

The City of Duncan estimated legal fees associated with a court case involving an illegal tent city, which was dismantled after roughly one month, to be around $25,000 according to the Cowichan Valley Citizen. In that case, the City of Duncan, retained Dominion GovLaw, the same legal firm hired by the City of Nanaimo during its case against Discontent City.

Policing costs associated with a now-closed homeless camp in the District of Saanich have been estimated at somewhere between $315,000 and $547,000 according to the Saanich News.

RELATED: Summer of our Discontent: homeless camp a contentious issue

RELATED: Application hearing held for Discontent City case

RELATED: Hearing begins to determine fate of Nanaimo’s Discontent City

RELATED: Discontent City argues that it’s keeping occupants safe

RELATED: Final arguments made at tent city hearing, court won’t rule immediately

RELATED: OPINION: There are no winners Nanaimo’s Discontent City case

RELATED: Nanaimo fire chief takes heat for tent city fire safety order

RELATED: City plans to take tent city back to court over fire safety order



nicholas.pescod@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Senior sentenced in Nanaimo for sexually abusing special-needs granddaughter

73-year-old Cortes Island man will go to jail for three years

Nanaimo rapper Sirreal presents variety show at the Queen’s

Performances at 420 Sharp Dressed Fam show will be filmed for live concert video

Nanaimo RCMP probe eight fires at Brechin Elementary School

Police say fires appear to have been set intentionally

BC Ferries to pilot selling beer and wine on select routes

Drinks from select B.C. breweries and VQA wineries to be sold on Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen route

Diary of Anne Frank turned into emotional stage production

Nanaimo Theatre Group director, actors say message relevant today

VIDEO: Alberta man creates world’s biggest caricature

Dean Foster is trying to break the world record for a radio show contest

Beefs & Bouquets, April 18

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail bulletinboard@nanaimobulletin.com

City wants public input on shopping bag bylaw

City launches public consultation on single-use shopping bags regulation

Federal environment minister in Nanaimo-Ladysmith to boost Liberal campaign

Catherine McKenna knocked on doors today with candidate Michelle Corfield

PPC leader Bernier works to build party’s profile in Nanaimo-Ladysmith

People’s Party of Canada candidate Jennifer Clarke and leader Maxime Bernier hold town hall

Nanaimo Business Awards celebrate an ‘outstanding’ year

Winners were revealed last week at a gala event at the Port Theatre

Howe Sound Queen sailing toward retirement

Vessel now up for auction ends regular runs between Crofton and Vesuvius at the beginning of June

Should B.C. lower speed limits on side roads to 30 km/h?

Vancouver city councillor wants to decrease speed limits along neighbourhood side roads

Lawsuit eyed over union-only raise for B.C. community care workers

‘Low-wage redress’ leaves 17,000 employees out, employers say

Most Read