Handwashing stations to be added to porta-potties installed at Halifax Central Library: city

With most city facilities closed during the pandemic, many Haligonians have no place to go.

Last week Halifax installed two portable toilets on the Queen St. plaza, just behind the public library.

Halifax Regional Municipality public safety officer Amy Siciliano told Global News on Monday that external handwashing stations will be added this week.

According to Siciliano, getting more places for people to go has been in the works for over a month.

“People that rely on our facilities to go to the bathroom no longer could. We knew that the need was there and we wanted to try to meet it,” she said.

The new handwashing stations are not only a matter of hygiene but a precaution measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Until the stations are installed, the porta-potties have hand sanitizer inside.

Kathleen Peverill, senior service manager at the Halifax Central Library says the library partnered with the city for this initiative because indoor washrooms are a service they normally provide.

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“Providing it beyond the walls of the library during these unusual times is really just making sure we meet people where they are.”

The library has several staff on-site monitoring the washrooms and safely engaging with the community, according to Peverill.

They ensure the washrooms are accessible and safe while providing free menstrual hygiene products to those who need them.

With a food specialist on-site and keeping to safety protocols, library staff have also been preparing snack packs to give out to community members.

Peverill believes this is just a way for the library to reach as many people as possible.

“The library is an inclusive space. Access to portable toilets will allow for privacy and dignified manner,” she says. “Everyone in our community deserves access to washroom facilities that are safe and accessible.”

The two porta-potties and the yet-to-be installed handwashing stations will be a temporary installment and will be in place until the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The municipality is working on a public washroom strategy, expected to go to Halifax council soon, according to Siciliano.

She says recognizing the need for public washrooms is a step in the right direction for the municipality.

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