NANAIMO — After a dozens of false fire alarms, the City of Nanaimo has moved one of the two local supportive housing projects.

The new location, along the median of Island Highway near Brechin Rd., will help fire officials reach the unit faster.

“There’s no need to drive up side streets any more,” said fire chief Nathan Poe. “Now, we can get there in like two minutes.”

The plan to move the housing unit went ahead despite a recently commissioned $420 million study which showed that traffic at the intersection would back up dramatically.

As a result, the nearby three-block stretch of Island Highway be closed from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Traffic will be single-lane alternating only during the early morning hours.

The move wasn’t without problems. A miscalculation by the tow truck operator caused one housing unit to slam down hard on the concrete, damaging the temporary housing’s foundation.

Residents’ belongings tossed around after tow truck crashes housing unit to pavement. Photo credit: X-Local Nanaimo.

To compensate those whose property was damaged from the move mishap, residents will each receive a new bike.

Island Health officials, worried about the mental health of the residents, has told the city it must install signage at the intersection discouraging passers-by from gawking at the residents.

This sign will prevent people from gawking at supportive housing residents.

If the move is successful, the City says it may consider moving other properties to highway medians.