Camping rules for homeless in parks laid down in Nanaimo Regional District

Nanaimo Regional District’s board has approved a set of rules that allow homeless people to camp in some of its parks overnight.

The unanimous vote this week brings the regional district in line with camping rules previously established by the city of Nanaimo. The municipality brought in its own legislation that permitted overnight campers in certain locations following 2018 decisions from the B.C. Supreme Court stemming from a now-disbanded tent city on Nanaimo industrial land.

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Of the regional district’s approximately 220 parks, close to 80 per cent prohibit overnight camping for a range of reasons — they are next to water, in environmentally sensitive areas or near homes, board chair and Nanaimo councillor Ian Thorpe said Wednesday.

A bylaw set to come before the board will permit homeless people to camp in specified parks between 7 p.m. and 9 a.m. Campers would have to take all their personal possessions with them when they left, and clean up the site.

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