Sugar Mountain tent city resident Dennis DeGuerre August 17

Sugar Mountain tent city resident Dennis DeGuerre sits with tea in hand on a makeshift couch. He said residents had to load shopping carts with jugs of water and travel 3-4 blocks to get water from nearby residents. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

Dennis DeGuerre sits on a makeshift couch in east Vancouver, sipping on a cup of tea.

It's a morning ritual many take for granted — but with no access to running water, DeGuerre's tea is made from water salvaged from a nearby business.

"Last night we went three or four blocks down the road to get it, you know, pushing a shopping cart," DeGuerre said. "[We] make two trips sometimes."

DeGuerre has been living in Vancouver's newest tent city, where residents are calling on the province to take immediate action to provide them with clean water and toilets, and ultimately with social housing.

Sugar Mountain nicknamed because close to Sugary Refinery

The tent city got its nickname, Sugar Mountain, because it is close to the B.C. Sugar Refinery. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

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The tent city is currently home to 48 people. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

The tent city, currently home to 48 people, popped up in industrial East Vancouver after residents were displaced from a tent city on Main Street in June.

It's become known as "Sugar Mountain" due to its location, near the B.C. Sugar Refinery.

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Residents say they feel safer living in a tent city than in a shelter or a single room occupancy hotel. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

Sugar Mountain tent city water jugs

Residents say labels mean nothing on jugs of water that they've collectively hauled back to the site. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

There are two portable toilets, paid for by the Alliance Against Displacement. But with no running water on site, residents have been using the exterior faucets of nearby businesses to stock up on water during the night or early in the morning.

Many businesses have turned a blind eye, but some have started shutting off their faucets, saying they can't afford the extra cost.

Ebbi Abasi, who works at a nearby bakery, says people taking up to 200 litres of water per trip was starting to cut into the bottom line.

"[All the] water they took from here, we pay for it," Abasi said. "[We can't] keep giving water for free."

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Tent city resident Ward Ferguson fixes a bike. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

Sugar Mountain Businesses Shut off Taps

Businesses near the tent city say they've resorted to shutting off their water valves because so many people were coming and using their taps. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

Despite the conditions, residents say they feel safer living in a tent city than in a shelter or a single room occupancy hotel 

J.J. Riach, with the Alliance Against Displacement, said the toilets cost her organization about $180 over two weeks to maintain. Riach said residents understand it's not local businesses' responsibility to provide them with water, and instead called on the province for support.

"Those are two basic human rights that are being denied here," she said.

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With no access to running water, tent city residents make tea from water salvaged from a nearby business. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

Shane Simpson, MLA for Vancouver-Hastings and the minister of social development and poverty reduction, toured the site earlier in the week.

Simpson said his ministry is aware of the conditions, and is working to find a solution.

"I think the request is not unreasonable at all, and we're looking to see what we can do about that as soon as possible," Simpson said.

Sugar Mountain Campers Tent City JJ Riach Alliance Against Displacement Aug 17, 2017

J.J. Riach with Alliance Against Displacement is demanding the government take immediate action and provide campers with clean water and better bathroom facilities. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)