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Saanich will continue to flow taxpayers’ money into sanitation station

Saanich says station remains open, because homelessness remains an issue following Regina Park
Saanich opened this temporary sanitation facility at Municipal Hall in July as a response to the homeless camp at Regina Park. The temporary trailer houses four washrooms and showers, and served as a hygiene station for people living at Regina Park. It will remain in place for the foreseeable future. Wolf Depner/News Staff

The homeless campers from Regina Park are gone, but the toilets and showers that they used remain for the foreseeable future.

The report that found Saanich could pay up to $1 million towards the costs of the homeless camp of Regina Park also states that Saanich will pay $23,300 each month to maintain the hygiene station installed in July into 2019.

RELATED: Final cost for Saanich homeless camp approaches $1 million

‘The monthly costs of $23,300 for the hygiene station are anticipated to be ongoing into 2019,” says Valla Tinney, director of finance in the report. “This expenditure is not currently included in the operating budget and has been funded through contingency in 2018. As the timeframe for decommissioning is unknown, it is recommended that the funding needs for early 2019 continue to be managed through the contingency budget.”

Laura Ciarniello, Saanich’s director of corporate services, said the hygiene station has served any persons, who have experienced homelessness in Saanich — not just individuals, who were occupying Regina Park.

“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,” she said.

RELATED: Saanich earmarks additional funds for homeless camp

Saanich approved funding for the hygiene station in the summer out of contingency funding and the municipality anticipates that it will cost taxpayers $169,000 by the end of 2018, with the final price tag unknown.

Ciarniello said staff currently do not have a fixed timeline for the decommissioning of the station. “But Saanich will continue to monitor and evaluate usage of the hygiene station, and the need for it,” she said.

Ciarniello noted some 60 people — about five people per day — have used the facility since the closure of the homeless camp on Sept. 13 following a court ruling.

RELATED: Tent city in Saanich’s Regina Park shuts down

About eight people used the facility daily during the camp’s existence, she said.

Plans call for council to consider the final costs of Regina Park at its next meeting Monday.

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Wolf Depner

About the Author: Wolf Depner

I joined the national team with Black Press Media in 2023 from the Peninsula News Review, where I had reported on Vancouver Island's Saanich Peninsula since 2019.
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