COUNCILLOR PHILIPPE LUCAS ADVOCATES PORTABLE TOILETS FOR SHOOTING HARD DRUGS: ‘We can remove people from… shooting up in people’s backyards and instead use a portable’

VICTORIA TO PAY $30,000

FOR EXTRA CLEANUP WORK

ON PLAGUED PANDORA AVENUE

 

[The City of] Victoria will spend another $30,000 to try to keep up with the garbage strewn on the 900-block of Pandora Avenue by people camping there.

The money will fund additional garbage pickup and sidewalk and street flushing for the next four months.

At the end of that time, it’s hoped new social housing coming on stream will reduce problems associated with people camping on the boulevard outside Our Place outreach centre.

Complaints about open drug use, camping, prostitution, and people urinating and defecating on properties neighbouring Our Place have been mounting in recent months, as have police calls to the area.

The City [of Victoria] has already stepped up efforts to clean up the area.

Since the end of June, parks staff have been cleaning the Pandora Green area twice a day, including weekends and holidays,.

The City is also sweeping the street twice a day and Our Place has expanded its garbage picker program by hiring a new employee.

Local businesses also pay for private litter pickup and private security.

City staff hope the fact that St. John the Divine is now open as a shelter with washrooms will reduce problems with human waste.

Councillor Charlayne Thornton-Joe, Council liaison to the downtown, acknowledged the extra cleanup is not a permanent solution.

That rests in measures such as keeping Our Place open seven days a week, 12 hours a day, and in increasing social housing and shelter beds.

“What we’re doing here is trying to find some relief for the community.

“And I don’t think this starts to touch what needs to be done with some of the issues that they are encountering there,” she said.

Councillors stopped short of installing a portable toilet in the area.

City staff, who recommended against the move, say a portable washroom would cost $1,790, plus $26,650 for a commissionaire providing 24/7 coverage.

While some neighbours support the idea, others worry about potential misuse and the fact it could create the perception of a legitimate encampment.

But Councillor Philippe Lucas said a portable toilet could be beneficial.

“If we can remove people from voiding in people’s back yards or from shooting up in people’s backyards and instead use a portable, then I think that’s a shift in the right direction.”

Mayor Dean Fortin disagreed, noting the same idea was suggested for the failed needle exchange on Cormorant Street.

“It was a disaster.

“Within two days, our public works reported they were jammed up.

“Bad things were happening in them.”

Fortin noted the Pandora problems centre around 30 individuals – many of whom have been banned from Our Place because of inappropriate behaviour.

Local businesses and residents have complained their neighbourhood is being ghettoized because of the makeshift encampment outside of Our Place.

But the City believes there little it can do since a court of appeal ruling that camping in parks is legal and Pandora Green is classified as a park.

Bill Cleverley: bcleverley@tc.canwest.com

Campers’ mess costs $30,000 to clean

Victoria Times Colonist: timescolonist.com

Friday, July 23, 2010

Page A4

CCC

 

 

 

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3 Responses to COUNCILLOR PHILIPPE LUCAS ADVOCATES PORTABLE TOILETS FOR SHOOTING HARD DRUGS: ‘We can remove people from… shooting up in people’s backyards and instead use a portable’

  1. albe says:

    Why on earth can’t the thirty regular actors be either followed to achieve a track of the substance movement, and possible arrests.
    But the big bugbear isn’t the VPD, it rests with the courts approach to viewing the activity as not warranting incarceration. if convicted.
    The law allows a broad spectrum of of discretion, even a small fine has been levied on dealers,who conceivably could hot shot a addict who threatens to tell police unless fronted drugs on credit. Also many dealers seem to want territory protected from interlopers by call the cops on competotors who sang the addicts from the regular clientele.
    So unless an effort by the law courts to change their activist approach, suspectedly urged to keep the prisons costly /population down. In short is it a crime , or is a pass for the crime being seen by the addicts?

  2. …then shooting up in portable toilets would be seen as an acceptable norm and the poor portable service guy who comes along to clean them would have to cope with contaminated needles as well.

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