Water bottle refill stations and 24-hour public restrooms could be coming to the 900-block of Pandora Avenue if an initiative by the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness makes its way into the city’s 2020 budget. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Victoria considers water refill stations, 24-hour washrooms for 900-block of Pandora Avenue

Initiatives recommended by Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness

Water bottle refill stations, 24-hour public restrooms and new “collaborative spaces” could be coming to the 900-block of Pandora Avenue.

The stretch of busy street is home to one of only a few of the city’s green spaces, but is better known for hosting a large population of Victorians experiencing homelessness.

The block is home to COHO co-operative housing and Our Place Society, one of the largest non-profits serving vulnerable community members in the region. Services range from food and shelter to places of worship, education and health and employment resources.

The 900-block is also home to the Harbour Supervised Consumption Service – a safe injection site and harm reduction hub which includes Island Health’s Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) teams and related clinical services.

READ ALSO: An honest and open conversation about Pandora Street

At the end of November, Victoria city council approved a request from the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness (GVCEH) asking staff to consider three initiatives for the 900-block during the 2020 budget process: Water bottle refill stations, 24-accessible washrooms and collaborative space making (things like sit-down areas or chairs).

Kelly Roth, executive director of GVCEH, says the suggestions come from consultation with community members, city staff, business owners, residents of Our Place Society and people who live – literally – on the block.

“There’s not really a lot of public access washrooms,” Roth says. “Everybody in the community talked about [washrooms] being an important issue.”

The only 24/7 public toilets in the city are the washrooms at Centennial Square and the award-winning Langley Street Loo, known for winning the obscure prize of Canada’s best restroom in 2012.

The 900-block of Pandora Avenue initiatives are for everyone, Roth emphasizes. She says GVCEH supports welcoming community spaces that encourage connections.

“Homelessness is a social issue, it is not an identity,” she says. “It really is a community and a societal responsibility if we’re going to fix it.”

READ ALSO: Victoria’s Our Place Society celebrates belated 50th anniversary with block party

Victoria Coun. Charlayne Thornton-Joe says council recognizes the need for more restrooms.

“We recognize that the right to washrooms is important,” she says. “Many of us can afford to go into Starbucks, buy a coffee and go into the washroom…but many don’t have that ability.”

Thornton-Joe says city council has to consider things like location, costs of installation and the potential need for supervision – whether that’s security or community-led.

GVCEH’s recommendations for Pandora Avenue will be considered by staff for the City of Victoria’s 2020 budget.



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Victoria artist in residence seeks seniors to share stories of life with students

The meeting is part of an intergenerational project focusing on face-to-face conversations

Dozen Metchosin ‘barn cats’ on the hunt for new homes

Broken Promises Animal Rescue hoping to re-home feral cats

Victoria votes to slash sister city celebrations

Victoria will only celebrate its anniversary with Morioka, Japan this year

Shortlisted options for Beacon Wharf replacement cost between $6.3 and $14.2 million

Select committee will investigate various questions around proposed replacement of iconic wharf

Saanich swaps last propane-powered Zamboni for electric model

Pearkes arena’s all-electric ice resurfacing fleet to reduce carbon emissions by six tonnes

Women take centre stage at NHL all-star skills competition

Canada beat the United States 2-1 in a spirited 3-on-3 game between female players Friday night

BCLC opens novelty bet on Harry and Meghan moving to the west coast

Meanwhile, real estate agency points to four possible homes for the family

Canada slips in global corruption ranking in aftermath of SNC-Lavalin scandal

The country obtained a score of 77, which places it at the top in the Americas

Wuhan bans cars, Hong Kong closes schools as coronavirus spreads

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said her government will raise its response level to emergency, highest one

Vernon woman suing McDonald’s for spilled coffee

Woman seeking nearly $10K, says employee failed to put lid on properly

Diners’ health tax not catching on in B.C., restaurant group says

Small businesses look for options to cover employer health tax

B.C. comic wins judgment after club owner slaps cellphone out of his hands

Incident happened last summer when Garrett Clark was performing in Abbotsford

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 21

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Most Read