The City of Nanaimo has now provided drinking water and three more portable toilets to a homeless camp on the edge of the city's downtown core.

Officials initially refused to provide the services, but Mayor Bill McKay says they had little choice because the city faced significant fines if it defied an order from a health officer.

McKay says he understands the concerns of residents who are angry that services are being provided for free when others have to pay, but he says orders from the health authority can't be disregarded.

The homeless camp across from the Port Place shopping centre has been growing for the last eight weeks.

The city says its lawyers will be in court next week, seeking an injunction to remove it.