Port-a-potties through out downtown Prince Rupert, and hand washing stations, are the considered solution announced to the lack of available hygiene facilities to the homeless and vulnerable population, City Council heard at the regular meeting on May 11. David Shankbone/Wikimedia photo

Port-a-potties in the core

Toilets for the homeless as well as hand-washing stations are planned

Distribution of port-a-potties throughout the downtown core is the considered solution to ablution.

The Prince Rupert Homeless Shelter moved into temporary new lodgings on the upper floor of the Fisherman’s Hall in mid-April. As of May 11, there were still no showers or bathing facilities available to its users. The shelter is managed by the North Coast Transition Society and funded by BC Housing.

At the Prince Rupert City Council meeting held on May 11, Councillor Nick Adey inquired of council as to the status of the shelter and its progress. Adey acknowledged he was aware there may have been some transitional issues with available facilities and the move from the shelter’s previous Third Ave. location.

READ MORE: UPDATED: Homeless shelter concerns

Concerns have been voiced by the public, the North Coast Transition Society, as well as others, and reported on in The Northern View about the lack of toilets and hygiene facilities available to the homeless and vulnerable population during the COVID-19 pandemic. During the hours the shelter is closed public toilets and hand-washing facilities are not readily available. On top of this, Prince Rupert City Council demanded the immediate closure of the shelter in a written letter to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing on March 30, leaving BC Housing and NCTS scrambling to find suitable premises to house the vulnerable.

“At the moment the city’s fast tracking some permits for a shower trailer for the homeless shelter there,” Barry Cunningham said, addressing Adey’s inquiry about the Fisherman’s Hall premises on Fraser St.

“And also, there’s plans in the works right now for anywhere from four to six port-a-potties and hand washing stations throughout the downtown area,” Cunningham said

READ MORE: City gives no response to homelessness concerns

During the current times of COVID-19, it is difficult to obtain permits and run items through City Hall, Cunningham said, but also that he understood City Hall staff had done an excellent job of expediting the permit process for the shower trailer at the Fisherman’s Hall and portable toilets to be installed on private and provincial land.

“Staff have been working closely with BC Housing with respect to any permits they may require, with respect to the homeless shelter and the Fisherman’s Hall. With out getting into too many details, we are working with them and they are actively looking for solutions,” City staff said.

“It’s just a matter of straightening all this out. It should help many of the homeless during the day and then there’s other things in the works in the near future that are going to be surprising to the city, but also a solution to a lot of our problems in that area,” Cunningham said.

K-J Millar | Journalist
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