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Let the people pee, Saskatoon non-profits say

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#folks #pee #Saskatoon #nonprofits

After a sure hour, there’s just one rest room open to the general public in Nice Hill. Businesses say that should change.

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After 4 p.m., Kayla DeMong says she is within the cost of the one public rest room in all of Nice Hill.

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The chief director of Prairie Hurt Discount is among the many non-profit leaders calling for quick motion to increase public washroom entry within the metropolis’s core neighbourhoods, arguing the rising variety of folks on the road want locations the place they will do their enterprise with security and dignity.

“We’re coping with human faeces and pee within the alleyways,” DeMong stated. “After we had that enormous flood a pair weeks in the past, what ended up occurring was a flood of human waste coming into our basement.”

Saskatoon’s public bathrooms — and, on this case, the shortage of them — have come into the highlight for the reason that begin of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The city has committed $100,000 to studying a need for public washroom access, and an additional $50,000 for a “navigator” program to help vulnerable people who might use those facilities.

Whereas most consider higher rest room entry is required, Saskatoon Poverty Discount Partnership coordinator Colleen Christopherson-Cote stated there’s much less settlement on who ought to pay for it.

“Some of us don’t have entry to shelter or another area and simply want a drop-in area. There isn’t something,” she stated.

Colleen Christopherson-Cote said the city’s poorest residents were hard-hit by the pandemic.
Colleen Christopherson-Cote stated the town’s poorest residents have been hard-hit by the pandemic. Picture by Matt Smith /Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Christopherson-Cote stated public rest room entry has lengthy been a fear for companies serving homeless folks. Then got here COVID-19, when the town’s public washrooms have been closed for greater than 100 days. Christopherson-Cote stated the end result was folks utilizing the one locations they may: alleys, streets and typically metropolis parks.

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“It’s a public security subject. It’s a public well being subject. Individuals must eliminate their waste in a secure, acceptable matter,” she stated.

She was a part of a committee struck to review entry to public washrooms. It polled 300 residents on-line over a six-week interval in the summertime of 2021; about 94 per cent of respondents have been in favour of a washroom mannequin that was open in any respect hours of the day.

Ninety per cent stated it ought to be both downtown or within the space between Idylwyld Drive and Avenue P between nineteenth Road West and twenty second Road West.

The City of Saskatoon is looking to pay “peer navigators” to connect with people using the washroom services at Kiwanis Park.
The Metropolis of Saskatoon is seeking to pay “peer navigators” to attach with folks utilizing the washroom providers at Kiwanis Park. Picture by Michelle Berg /Saskatoon StarPhoenix

However the query is: who runs it, and the place?

DeMong stated moveable bathrooms gained’t suffice: they wouldn’t work in frigid winter temperatures and wouldn’t maintain as much as vandalism or different harm.

“The opposite large subject that was run into was: the place would it not go? And the place was the cash going to come back from?” DeMong stated.

Prairie Harm Reduction executive director Kayla DeMong outside PHR’s building on 20th Street West.
Prairie Hurt Discount government director Kayla DeMong exterior PHR’s constructing on twentieth Road West. Picture by Michelle Berg /Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Most washrooms run by the Metropolis of Saskatoon are in different civic services, like libraries, however few of these buildings are within the space.

Christopherson-Cote stated a non-profit might theoretically have a washroom for the general public, however it might have to be funded to function 24/7, which might require federal or provincial cash.

“If we knew who the funder was, we might have already got the funding in place,” she stated.

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