Tent City Emergency Shelters
Type: Emergency Response Solutions
Client: BC Housing
Date of Completion: December 2018
Location: Nanaimo, B.C.
Project Category: Emergency Response Solutions, Affordable Housing
Scope and Challenges:
In 2018, BC Housing reached out to Nomodic with a request to provide immediate temporary housing in response to a BC Supreme Court order to shut down Nanaimo’s ‘Tent City’, where an estimated 300 to 350 people were living. Time was of the essence, as winter was fast approaching and Tent City was scheduled to close less than three months after Nomodic was awarded the project.
Additional considerations included:
- Overall sensitivity of the project
- Resident and operational safety
- Small/unlevel site on a major road posed a challenge for craning, site development, and service utility installations
- Access to labour given the tight project timelines
- Managing of multiple stakeholders (the community, the City, BC Housing, two different operators, and other project partners)
- Logistics of transporting units to Nanaimo via barge/ferry
Knowing the project’s strict time and budget requirements, Nomodic aimed to deliver the finished buildings quickly and efficiently by leveraging existing transportable modular facilities for rapid deployment. Previously-built modules were transported from Fort St. John to Nanaimo, where they were installed and fully renovated to meet the needs of BC Housing, Pacifica Housing, the Island Crisis Care Society, and the new tenants.
Nomodic provided integration and continuity through each phase, and supplied full site development and installation services. Nomodic’s expertise in all areas—from building codes, to permitting, to transportation guidelines—helped expedite and streamline the project.
Utilizing its extensive partner network, Nomodic pooled resources and managed the project throughout, collaborating with the City of Nanaimo, BC Hydro, local contractors, engineering consultants, and non-profit organizations to help meet the tight timeline. Challenges, such as uneven site conditions and transport logistics hurdles, were overcome through teamwork, organization, and communication with project partners.
“Supporters say the sites represent one of the fastest and largest responses to a tent city in provincial history.”
– CTV News Vancouver Island
The end product includes 148 beds across two sites, and provides residents with private rooms, private bathrooms, and showers, as well as 24/7 security, meals, and access to social services. Tenants were able to move into their safer, warmer, more secure, and more comfortable accommodations in December 2018: only 70 days after the start of the project.
Additional features include:
- Electrical buildings
- Front office buildings (reception/security)
- Dog run
- Fencing and gates
- Community gardens
- Smoking shelters
- Tamper proofing to ensure safety