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)

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.

Just Posted

O.K. Industries is building a quarry next to Capital Regional District land, as shown in this map from the rezoning applicaiton. (Photo courtesy District of Highlands)
Millstream Quarry wins again in court against Highlands community’s appeal

Judges rule province not obligated to investigate climate change before issuing permit

Cheyenne, six, Savannah, three, and Jeremiah Sinclair, 8, were out on walk with their mother on June 4 when they discovered the first of several hundred fish that died after bleach leaked into Reay Creek. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Spill in Sidney’s Reay Creek turns into ecological lesson for local children

Federal-provincial investigation ongoing into what appears to be a bleach spill

Kidspace, which took over the YMCA-YWCA childcare centre at Eagle Creek Village, plans to reopen the Y’s fitness centre as the Eagle Creek Athletic Club in September. (Photo courtesy of Kidpsace)
Former Y fitness centre in View Royal aims to reopen in September

Kidspace taking over both the gym and the childcare facility at Eagle Creek Village

Mural artist Paul Archer will soon begin work on a piece on the rear of a building at 100 Burnside Road West. (Gorge Tillicum Community Association)
Back of Burnside building in Saanich to feature mural of hope and positivity

Artist Paul Archer says subject will inspire memories, depict children’s future, sunshine, flowers

Saanich Volunteer Services Society volunteers head out to deliver this week’s meals to local seniors. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
VIDEO: Weekly meal deliveries help brighten the day for Saanich seniors

Seniors are delivered nutritional meals by a group of volunteers every Wednesday

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
VIDEO: Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

St. Joseph's Mission site is located about six kilometres from Williams Lake First Nation. (Photo submitted)
Williams Lake First Nation to search residential school site for unmarked graves

St. Joseph’s Mission Indian Residential School operated from 1886 to 1981

Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lotto Max jackpot goes unclaimed again

42 of the 64 Maxmillion prizes of $1 million were won, the majority were sold in Ontario

FILE - This July 6, 2017 file photo shows prescription drugs in a glass flask at the state crime lab in Taylorsville, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
Contaminants in generic drugs may cause long-term harm to DNA: B.C. researcher

Scientist says findings suggest high volume overseas facilities require strict regulation

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., on April 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Labour shortages, closed borders major obstacles to B.C. restaurant, tourism restarts

Industry expert says it won’t start to recover until international travellers can visit

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

Most Read