Saanich council Monday confirmed that a sanitation station for homeless individuals near municipal hall will continue to remain at its current location into 2019.
The municipality installed the station with showers and toilets in early July in response to the homeless camp in Regina that had popped up in May and housed more than 100 people during its peak. While a court ruling in September forced its closure, staff recommended that the hygiene station remain in place in a report that found Saanich could pay up to $1 million towards the costs of the homeless camp of Regina Park.
The monthly cost of the facility is just over $23,000.
“Given that homelessness in Saanich and the capital region remains a significant and ongoing challenge, despite the end of the encampment at Regina Park, Saanich considers it prudent to carry on with operation of the hygiene station at the present time,” said Laura Ciarniello, Saanich’s director of corporate services.
Council confirmed this position by receiving the report without any changes. Looming in the background of this decision is closure of the homeless camp in Goldstream Provincial Park. Many, if not most of its residents had stayed at Regina Park, and many are expected to return to Saanich.
“With uncertainty around wherethey are going next it is prudent to keep it,” said Coun. Colin Plant Tuesday morning.