October 12, 2018 8:44 pm

Nanaimo tent city evacuated after possible bomb-making components found

Police have evacuated a portion of the Nanaimo tent city after possible bomb-making components were found.

Allen Felker

Police evacuated a portion of Nanaimo’s controversial Discontent City homeless camp on Friday, after investigators discovered potential bomb-making components.

Nanaimo RCMP spokesperson Const. Gary O’Brien said a camp resident informed police of the materials just before 4 p.m., and moved them to a place where they were visible next to the camp’s fence.

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“At which point we saw it, we ascertained that it could possibly be an explosive device, so using an abundance of caution evacuated everybody within about a 100-metre radius,” he said.

O’Brien said Front Street, adjacent to the camp, was closed to vehicle and pedestrian traffic until the components can be safely destroyed.

READ MORE: Nanaimo tent city eviction deferred by one week

“Our explosives disposal unit is attending from Vancouver this evening, and in the interim, all of the residents who are displaced from tent city are going over to the conference centre and will remain there until such time as the device is disposed of,” he said.

It’s not clear exactly what the components were, but O’Brien said they were “nothing as sophisticated” as a pressure cooker or pipe bomb, but “enough that it could cause serious harm or death to somebody.”

O’Brien added that it was not a complete explosive device.

He said it’s too early in the investigation to say who the components may have belonged to.

Residents of the camp had originally been ordered to pack up and leave their site at 1 Front Street by Friday, but were given an extra week by Nanaimo city council earlier in the day.

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