Fencing that was moved onto Seaspan lot on Wednesday was moved back on Thursday. NICHOLAS PESCOD/The News Bulletin

Seaspan says it needs its property next to Discontent City

Fencing that was moved onto Seaspan lot on Wednesday was moved back on Thursday

A day after Discontent City extended its fence and its boundaries, heavy machinery was at the site, pushing the fences back again.

The homeless camp in downtown Nanaimo, citing a growing population and challenges complying with the fire safety order, took over a portion of the adjacent Seaspan lot on Wednesday, but the move was reversed Thursday.

Seaspan released a statement this afternoon addressing the situation.

“While a portion of the property may appear vacant at times, it serves as a necessary buffer between the camp and rail/barge operations. These operations support hundreds of manufacturing jobs on Vancouver Island and our first responsibility is to maintain the safety and integrity of the operations and our people,” the statement notes.

Seaspan added that it’s “working closely” with the City of Nanaimo to find a resolution for both employees and the residents of the homeless camp.

Nanaimo Fire Rescue chief Karen Fry, the city’s director of public safety, said Seaspan and Southern Railway of Vancouver Island both have rights-of-way on the property.

“So we are in communication with them and they have indicated that they don’t want people trespassing on their property,” she said, adding there are safety concerns with flammable materials transported via rail.

She was asked about the sequence of events with the fence being moved.

“Last night things probably unfolded very quickly and people were probably trying to do what they could at the time to mitigate it,” said Fry.

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