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City of Terrace gets provincial homelessness grant

Will be used for portable toilets and to hire city staffer
City of Terrace intends to resume its annual homeless count in April after a hiatus last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Binny Paul photo/ Terrace Standard)

The City of Terrace is getting $161,100 from the provincial and federal governments, some of which will be spent on two portable toilets, as it continues to search for a response to homelessness, crime and social disorder within the downtown core.

Of the $161,100, the city will spend $27,900 on two temporary portable toilets at the former Terrace Co-op shopping centre site along Greig Ave. as an attempt to answer complaints about defecation and urination in doorways and other public spaces downtown.

There’s already a portable toilet at the Kermode Friendship Centre and having the city add to the portable toilet inventory would repeat what it did last year at the city-owned Co-op spot.

In past years CN, with the help of a grant, also placed a portable toilet along the fence line of the Coop property that parallels its tracks through town.

The two portable toilets to now be installed are regarded as an interim measure until the city finds out if two other grant applications for a combined $250,000 are successful to finance a more permanent outdoor washroom called a Portland Loo.

When the city applied for the grant, which is being funnelled through the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM), it set out $83,200 for a company that would keep an eye on what’s going on downtown, contacting the RCMP when necessary and filing reports with the city.

“We are working with UBCM to figure out an approach that’s best for our community, so no details are yet available about what this money will go towards specifically,” said city communications advisor Kate Lautens.

The city is already spending $54,000 from another grant on a company with one city councillor, James Cordeiro, questioning the effectiveness of spending money on a service that has no enforcement powers.

And $50,000 is to be used to beef up the plan to create a new city staff position to last for at least three years.

With other monies from other grants and $120,000 from LNG Canada, the city is putting a price tag of $285,000 on the three-year hiring commitment for what’s called a social development development coordinator.

Based on a job description posted by the city, this person is to be responsible “for the coordination of policy development and implementation of activities to address priorities associated with social equity, community health and safety and well-being in the City of Terrace.”

In doing so, the person is expected be in close contact with a variety of non-profit groups, agencies and provincial government ministries.

The $161,100 coming to the city is from $78 million being spent by the province on what it says is homelessness made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic.

About the Author: Rod Link

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