ONTARIO – The city of Ontario will install a dumpster and a portable toilet in the coming weeks for a lot of on Southeast 13th Avenue designated as the camping site for the unhoused.
City Manager Dan Cummings said the move is an experiment prompted from residents during an Ontario City Council session in October.
Some of those addressing the matter said there was confusion about the availability of the site and that it lacked basic services for campers.
The site was opened after the city passed an ordinance that prohibited camping on city property and rights-of-way – including parks – between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.
Cummings conceded “it took a while” for the city to arrange the toilet and garbage service for the camping location.
“We were trying to figure out a way to pay for it,” he said, adding he hasn’t solved that issue yet.
He said the services will cost about $760 a month.
“We just don’t have the money sitting around,” he said.
Last week Cummings visited the site and surveyed a few tents near a stand of trees. A line of cloths hung over a barbed wire fence.
He said more toilets may be added in the future.
“We will see what we need as it progresses. But if they destroy them, the company will pull them,” he said.
Ontario City Councilor Eddie Melendrez said installing the dumpster and the portable toilet was the “humane thing to do.”
“I do understand that Dan is the city manager and he sees the day to day how the budget works. But we, as a council, have to take ownership. We knew it was coming up and we didn’t prepare for that. I didn’t, personally, think of it,” said Melendrez.
Melendrez said the council “should have planned better,” regarding the homeless site.
“We have to take accountability for not budgeting the money for those services,” he said.
News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected]
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