Prince Rupert’s Urbaloo arrived in the downtown core after months of delays on Nov. 13, but there is no relief yet because the installation has encountered further delays.
The latest delay is because of the inclement weather and rainwater filling up the holes where the loo was going to be installed Miranda Kessler, Reaching Home Homelessness Coordinator for the Prince Rupert Aboriginal Community Service Society (PRACS), said on Nov. 18.
Timelines were initially provided to PRACS no one anticipated the number of delays or length of time installation was going to take. Kessler added while PRACS facilitated the funding, the City of Prince Rupert was managing the delivery and installation.
Originally the facility was slated to arrive and open in March, but manufacturing issues caused delays of the Urbaloo unit. The public facility was then rescheduled for a September opening. That was again delayed due to the discovery of underground fuel tanks and required soil testing at the 3rd Ave. and 7th St. site.
“The Urbaloo was being installed on [Nov. 13]. It is expected to be open mid-week this week,” Rosa Miller, City of Prince Rupert corporate administrator, said on Nov. 15.
However, as of Nov. 19, that still has not occurred and “No Trespassing” signs are placed at the location, and the Urbaloo doors are locked. Despite The Northern View inquiries, the City of Prince Rupert has no further answers to the situation, cited a Nov. 19 email.
The whole idea behind why the Urbaloo was brought into Prince Rupert was because of the pandemic, Kessler said.
“With the pandemic, businesses closed. There was nowhere for people that are experiencing homelessness, or nearing homelessness, [where] they can use the washroom,” Kessler said. “That is why the Urbaloo was installed downtown.”
The funding for the $200,000 project was made possible by a grant to the PRACS. The society received funding from the federal government through its investment allocation to the city by way of the Reaching Home: Canada’s Homeless Strategy, Kessler said.
“We are looking for applications from other organizations that are involved with reducing homelessness she said, adding there is a surplus of funding needing to be used.
Funding has been supplied to groups such as Rotary for the Coats for Kids program, 333 Recovery House, Change Makers Education Society, Pacific Coast School, the Lion’s among others, she said.
“The goal is to try to end indigenous homelessness because … the majority of people experiencing homelessness nationwide are indigenous. So we’re trying to focus on activities and programming to help end those cycles,” she said.
With files from K-J Millar
Norman Galimski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Rupert Northern View