Video – Porta-Potties – More Than Just a Bathroom

In Local

Turns out it was all a misunderstanding.

When people see individuals go into porta-potties on Albert Street in Cobourg, they aren’t doing illegal drugs, they are helping solve life’s problems.

Now we can’t say that about everyone, but for the person Today’s Northumberland spoke with on Saturday, April 20, 2024 it was just a simple misunderstanding.

The morning started off by a person phoning police about a individual laying on the ground beside the porta-potties on Second Street right beside the town hall.

The person phoned police on the non-emergency number because of a concern about the individual laying on the roadway may be a safety risk.

After explaining to the 911 operator the person was on Second Street which is at best, likely one of the smaller roads in the town, the operator asked for a cross street, the persons name and other uncomfortable questions for the someone who was simply reaching out for a wellness check.

Police came and the person got up and walked around the immediate area. Police left and moments later the person once again laid down on the street reaching underneath the porta-potty.

Just down the street at the washrooms by the Rotary Harbourfront Park, a group of individuals were congregating around the porta-potties.

(Just a few months ago, thousands of dollars worth of work was done to install metal doors to the washrooms, but they are still locked)

At times, two people would enter one of the porta-potties and both would come out minutes later.

When a person walked up to Today’s Northumberland and asked for money he agreed to be interviewed about why two people were going into the porta-potty.

“We were just talking about personal issues we were both going through,” said the individual.

Even the other pairs that went inside the porta-potty were just discussing private issues while inside.

The individual was adamant there was no illegal drugs being consumed inside the porta-potties.

It turns out something as basic as a porta-potty actually are a multi-use facility.

They could be called a “counselling centre” or maybe even like on the 1960’s television series Get Smart, maybe they are like the “cone of silence.”

Either way – it was a misunderstanding.

But it was another opportunity to speak to the individual about problems in Cobourg with the homelessness crisis.

Since the individual asked for money for food, it was an opportunity to ask what the issue was.

At one point there was a fridge at the Cobourg Public Library where individuals could grab a bite to eat – but it was removed.

“The library ended up taking away the community fridge.”

Traditionally people in need could go to the library when it’s open and grab a bite to eat.

“But then all of a sudden they moved the community fridge to the Warming Hub. The only time we were able to access it was at night time (as The Warming Hub is only open during the evening).

Even now the community fridge is gone from there and we have no idea where it is.”

The individual said if people wanted to help, he would appreciate a community fridge at some location – even if it has to be monitored.

The individual said that Transition House is, “very good” but they stopped helping clients out with lunches.

“We have to almost beg them to give us granola bars. That’s friggin rough.”

A common misunderstanding is people living at Transition House have to leave in the daytime. The individual said they can stay at the facility, but just can’t be in their bedroom.

If a person is late for curfew the individual said it’s almost like a “three strikes” and you’re out or banned from the facility for a period of time.

“Depending on who you are (you get) a day to a seven day suspension of not being able to be there.”

If a person does get suspended from Transition House the only other facility the man said was The Warming Hub, which is only available at night and everyone has to leave in the morning and there is no where to go.

The individual said it’s “not necessarily” easy to get illegal drugs in Cobourg.

“It depends on who you are.”

Pete Fisher
Author: Pete Fisher

Has been a photojournalist for over 30-years and have been honoured to win numerous awards for photography and writing over the years. Best selling author for the book Highway of Heroes - True Patriot Love

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