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.

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

Just Posted

Royal Roads University president Philip Steenkamp said they are aware of hateful graffiti spray-painted in an area of the forest surrounding the campus. The graffiti in question includes anti-Semitic content and a racial slur towards Black people. (Facebook/Royal Roads University)
Anti-Semitic, hateful graffiti spotted in forest near Royal Roads University

Royal Roads working with West Shore RCMP to remove graffiti “as soon as possible”

A cougar was spotted at Royal Roads University on Sunday, Jan. 24. The sighting was reported on the western edge of the campus. (File photo)
Cougar spotted at Royal Roads University Sunday afternoon

Animal reported on western side of campus near Colwood Fire Department

Saanich-based St. Luke’s Players community theatre company has been making the most of their opportunities to keep busy during the pandemic, including staging a Christmastime panto of Alice in Wonderland on Zoom. (Courtesy St. Luke’s Players)
Saanich’s St. Luke’s Players: Bringing the stage to the people

Community theatre company holding online auditions Jan. 23-24 for March production

Frank Bourree was awarded the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce’s first Governors’ Award of Distinction for his leadership in the business community. (Courtesy of Frank Bourree)
Frank Bourree receives award of distinction from Victoria chamber

Award recognizes positive role model in business community

The Habitat for Humanity Meaning of Home contest is open to students in Grades 5 to 6. (Screenshot/Habitat for Humanity video)
Habitat for Humanity launches national writing contest

Entries accepted from students in Grades 4 to 6 until Feb. 19

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

The sky above Mt. Benson in Nanaimo is illuminated by flares as search and rescuers help an injured hiker down the mountain to a waiting ambulance. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Search and Rescue)
Search plane lights up Nanaimo mountain with flares during icy rope rescue

Rescuers got injured hiker down Mt. Benson to a waiting ambulance Saturday night

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Nanaimo hospital

Two staff members and one patient have tested positive, all on the same floor

Most Read