City of Terrace committee looks for ways to increase availability of public washrooms. The one pictured above

More public washrooms sought in Terrace, B.C.

Options now very limited for homeless people and others

The city’s homelessness task group is examining the possibility of extending the hours of public washrooms or even putting in more facilities.

“They need some place to go that they have dignity,” said manager of George Little House Debbie Letawski.

“Because what they do is they use the area around here as a public washroom, so for me and my staff to clean up around here, it’s been really bad, especially the last two years.”

Letawski has met in the past with the homelessness task group to see about having a temporary outhouse put near the tourist destination located by the CN tracks.

Typically Letawski has quite a number of people coming into George Little House asking to use the bathroom, and she doesn’t always feel safe because she is frequently alone in the building.

However, the chair of the task group, Danielle Lavoie, advised Letawski that having an outhouse there might make the problem of people hanging around George Little House worse.

The homelessness task group has been discussing longer terms solutions to the homeless situation.

One of city council’s two appointees to the group, Stacey Tyers, said the city has already been looking into what can be done to open what public washrooms there are for longer periods of time.

At George Little Park, for example, the public bathrooms are open mainly during public events.

According to Tyers, the problem is mainly at night when businesses and social agencies who do have washrooms are closed.

“A better idea might be to talk to [the city’s] public works [department] about actually opening the public bathrooms and having more police and having some video cameras for entering and exiting, for more security.”

“George Little House isn’t the only place having to deal with the public defecation,” she said listing the area around the downtown building where she works and Brolly Square as also being problem areas.

Tyers said she hopes that more substantial solutions can be found as the homelessness group continues meeting and speaks with various social agencies around town.

Those agencies, Tyers added, are more hands-on when it comes to coping with the homeless.

Aside from the city’s washrooms at George Little Park, the only other public washrooms are located at the Terrace Public Library located within the park.

Head librarian David Tremblay says part of the library’s mandate as a public institution is to provide washrooms but like other facilities around town, the library has had problems with non-library patrons using its facilities.

He feels that having the city’s own public bathroom in George Little Park open formore than special events would be a bonus.

“It would be great to have a public washroom for everyone,”