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City works to improve safety and cleanliness downtown during pandemic

Charles Santa and Jordan Harris with the POUNDS Project Society help to monitor the public washrooms in Canada Games Plaza. The City recently opened the washrooms to the public to help address a rising need for washroom facilities for downtown residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. City of Prince George photo

In response to emerging needs during the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Prince George is working with its partners on a number of new initiatives aimed at improving safety, cleanliness, and inclusion for all residents.

Crews with Prince George Fire and Rescue Services are now conducting daily downtown alley patrols. Members patrol the downtown twice a day (mid-morning and evening) in the alleys from First Avenue to Sixth Avenue and from Victoria Street to Lower Patricia Boulevard. During the patrols, staff look for accumulations of combustible material that present a fire risk and report any suspicious activity to RCMP via the City of Prince George’s dispatch centre.

To complement the work of Prince George Fire Rescue Services, the city has also contracted DART to provide daily, and on call, clean up services in downtown alleys. Downtown Prince George is contributing to enhanced downtown cleanliness by working with the Prince George Brain Injured Group (PGBIG) to expand the hours of service provided by the Downtown Clean Team.

In collaboration with the Community Partners Addressing Homelessness (CPAH), the city is also administering the federal government’s Reaching Home COVID-19 response fund. During the first allocation of funding, six Prince George agencies received funding to enhance service provision in a number of critical areas including food security, mental health support, neighbourhood cleanup, and drop-in support.

Bylaw Services staff are continuing to assist with and respond to complaints related to COVID-19 education under the authorities directed by the province. This includes educating vulnerable members of the community about public health orders and recommendations relating to COVID-19.

To provide additional access for those impacted by the closure of businesses and civic facilities, the city recently opened the washrooms located in Canada Games Plaza across from the Prince George Conference and Civic Centre. The washrooms, monitored by the POUNDS Project Society, are open daily from 7 a.m. to noon and 7 p.m. to midnight, seven days/week.

The Canada Games Plaza washrooms are in addition to those provided at two homeless service hub sites, supported by the city. One pilot site, located at 181 Quebec Street, provides access to storage, washroom, and outreach services. The second pilot site, located at 144 George Street, provides storage, washroom, shower, laundry, and outreach services. The City of Prince George has collaborated with BC Housing, PGNFC, and AWAC to provide these critical services. Both sites remain operational to serve vulnerable people during the pandemic.

These initiatives are tailored to meet emerging needs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and are in addition to many other ongoing efforts led by the city to ensure community-wide safety, cleanliness and inclusion. Residents interested in learning more about the city’s COVID-19 response, as well as ongoing initiatives to address community safety and cleanliness are invited to visit www.princegeorge.ca/downtown.

Citizens can also contact the city anytime by dialing 311 (within city limits), emailing 311@princegeorge.ca, or submitting a service request online or via the cityofPG app

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