Kelowna is looking at introducing a $200,000 pop-up toilet project to serve citizens and tourists in the Queensway area. (City of Kelowna)

Kelowna pop-up toilet rings in at $200K

City council to consider 3-month pilot project for public washroom to serve Queensway

When nature calls, a new $200,000 washroom pilot project in Queensway could be the answer.

It could also be the answer to another call: breaking down stigma surrounding vulnerable populations experiencing homelessness and substance use.

On Monday, City of Kelowna councillors will look at funding the purchase, operations and management of the pop-up toilet.

READ MORE: Shop owner says City of Kelowna hurting small business

The semi-permanent, fully-functioning washroom, similar to projects in Winnipeg, would be added to the downtown area of Queensway for a three-month pilot project to serve all visitors of the area. The Paid Employment for People with Lived Experiences (PEOPLE) staff will be onsite to supervise between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m. daily.

READ MORE: Pot shop in Lake Country to open in July

The PEOPLE program provides training and paid work opportunities for individuals with lived experience with homelessness and substance use. Those hired for the job will fill the roles of ambassadors and cleaning crews.

Journey Home’s executive director Gaelene Askeland said this addition would also be a great advancement in the five-year strategy to end homelessness.

“While we work that plan, there are still people outside, homeless in our community, without access to toilets and showers,” she said in her letter of support.

“Few, if any, of the businesses in the downtown core permit their washrooms to be used by our street entrenched population,” she wrote. “That leave people who sleep outside without any place to deal with their bodily functions or get cleaned up for the day.”

READ MORE: OGO e-scooters zooming into Kelowna streets

READ MORE: Metalheads converge in north Okanagan

The Lived Experience Circle on Homelessness advisory group told Journey Home this access to a basic human need would be much appreciated by all who would use it.

“With the increase of people downtown during the summer tourist season, it is worthwhile to make the washroom facility appealing, clean, funky and a safe, easy thing to access for citizens and tourists alike,” Askeland said.

Staffing the bathroom with graduates from the PEOPLE program, Askeland said, could be helpful to break down stigma as it would create opportunities for engagement with people with lived experience of homelessness and substance use or addictions.

“It is a courageous step, and one worth taking,” she said.


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Kelowna’s McCurdy house gets operation model redesign

No illegal drug use in supportive housing in Rutland community, B.C. Housing Minister says

UPDATE: Charges laid in West Kelowna assault

An arrest was made after RCMP plea for witnesses

West Kelowna man charged in gas station robbery

The 18-year-old was arrested after allegedly robbing a Huskey gas station on July 15

Kelowna RCMP seek info on hit and run

Red mustang strikes cyclist while taking U-turn near Bernard Avenue

Kelowna’s Okanagan Regional Library may not look like the one you grew up with!

New technology and arts programming transforms library operations

Canada Forces Snowbirds making quick trip to South Okanagan

Planes will be touching down at the Penticton airport to refuel

Olympic softball qualifier gets $150K boost from provincial government

2019 Americas Qualifier to be held in Surrey from Aug. 25-Sept. 1

Gas price inquiry questions Trans Mountain capacity, company denies collusion

The first of up to four days of oral hearings in the inquiry continue in Vancouver

Okanagan woman heads up college foundation board

Gladys Fraser of Vernon brings experience to role as chair of Okanagan College Foundation board

Stolen car now returned to Summerland dealership

Vehicle was stolen on same day as attempted carjacking incident

‘Benzos’ and fentanyl a deadly cocktail causing a growing concern on B.C. streets

Overdoses caused by benzodiazepines can’t be reversed with opioid-overdose antidote naloxone

Police recover $12,700 in stolen pet food from North Shuswap property

Chase RCMP execute third search of property where stolen vehicles, illegal firearms seized

Straight from DeHart

Partners come together to open new pub in Kelowna

Most Read