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.
‘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.
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.
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.
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.