Left: Garbage and mess left in one of Penticton’s public washrooms. Right: A burn mark left above the toilet paper holder in one of Penticton’s public washrooms, which staff suspect is the result from someone “cooking drugs.” (Photo from City of Penticton)

Left: Garbage and mess left in one of Penticton’s public washrooms. Right: A burn mark left above the toilet paper holder in one of Penticton’s public washrooms, which staff suspect is the result from someone “cooking drugs.” (Photo from City of Penticton)

Drug use/vandalism issues reduces Penticton public washroom availability

Residents of Penticton will see an adjustment to which public washrooms are open and for how long

Residents will have less access to public washrooms in Penticton as city staff crack down on vandalism and drug use inside the facilities.

Council heard during the meeting on June 4 from the city’s director of recreation and culture Bregje Kozak about the state of the city’s public washrooms located within the 200 block of Main Street and certain city parks. She explained city staff have been struggling with addressing the near constant vandalism that seems to plague these buildings.

“Since we opened our washrooms in May, we have been almost daily in the facilities cleaning up, repainting to cover up graffiti, replacing hinges, fixing doors and that kind of thing,” said Kozak. “We spent about eight hours a week in man-power just for facilities staff to deal with that, that does not include bylaw time or any time by our cleaning contractors.”

Kozak submitted a report to council which stated the city spent $100,000 in security and vandalism to the city’s public washrooms in 2018. In just the two months these washrooms have been opened this year, the city has spent $7,000 and 65 staff hours (equal to one day per week) dealing with repairs.

As a result, council voted to adjust the hours certain public washrooms will be available. Going forward, the 200 block public washrooms will be closed except for market days on Saturday and special events.

READ MORE: Okanagan bar warns of dropped calls in the bathroom

In addition, rather than closing the public washrooms at dusk or 10 p.m., the hours will be reduced to close at approximately 9 p.m., subject to park bookings or special events.

“The 200 block public washroom is targeted quite frequently. What we either deal with is they’re locked and people are trying to get into them. Once we get inside (we find graffiti) and we can clean it up and repaint it, then the next day it will be back,” said Kozak. “We also see drug paraphernalia and other things.”

Furthermore, the unisex and single stall washrooms in Lakawanna Park, Gyro Park, Okanagan Lake Park and Rotary Park will be closed for the summer. The regular male and female washrooms will remain open at those locations.

“The single stall washrooms are really problematic for us. We installed brand new partitions in the stalls at Okanagan Lake Park because they were badly damaged last year, and they are already bent,” said Kozak. “We’ve even seen a burn mark on the wall (in one washroom), which we believe is from someone cooking their drugs on top of the toilet paper holder.”

Members on city council expressed their disappointment that the schedule changes are necessary, noting that it impacts the general public and businesses when the public washrooms are not available.

Kozak said that in the past, the city has tried installing portable washrooms which suffer just as much vandalism. City staff will be posting signage of the adjusted hours, and this is subject to change based on the outcomes.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.

Jordyn Thomson | Reporter
JordynThomson 
Send Jordyn Thomson an email.
Like the Western News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Google Maps)
Osoyoos Credit Union staff member tests positive for COVID-19

The credit union made the announcement Dec. 1

Elkhart Gas Station, located on Highway 97C about 60 kilometres west of Peachland, opened in November 2020. (Google maps)
The Okanagan Connector now has a gas station

The highway previously ran for over 117 kilometres without a place to fuel up

A laboratory technician holds a dose of a COVID-19 novel coronavirus vaccine candidate that’s ready for trial on monkeys at the National Primate Research Center of Thailand. (Mladen Antonov - AFP)
Interior Health reports 66 new COVID-19 infections

570 cases are active; 18 in hospital

The Hughes’ Grinch was stolen from their front yard Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2020. The Santa suit the Grinch is wearing is 50 years old and has sentimental value. It was once worn by April Hughes’ dad. (Hughes photo)
Stolen Grinch ‘irreplaceable’

The Hughes have had a Christmas display for 25 years on Grandy Avenue in Penticton

The real estate market is brisk in the South Okanagan, with home prices increasing according to November, 2020 statistics. (Contributed)
House prices rise while supply is limited in South Okanagan

Real estate market active, according to November statistics from South Okanagan Real Estate Board

An Enderby restaurant and pub was shut down Sunday afternoon, Nov. 29, 2020 as a precaution after a guest reportedly tested positive for COVID-19. (Howard Johnson photo)
North Okanagan pub reopens after COVID-19 scare

After a guest reportedly tested positive for the virus, staff test results came back negative

Alix Longland
Trauma resources ready for North Okanagan refugees

Family Resource Centre working with UBCO social work grad to reach out to local refugees

Midway RCMP’s Cpl. Phil Peters spoke at Greenwood’s city council meeting Monday, Nov. 23. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
B.C. Mountie builds fire to warm suspect with hypothermia prior to rescue

Cpl. Phil Peters said the civilian helped police track, apprehend and eventually rescue the suspect

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Revelstoke COVID-19 cluster linked to non-essential travel: Horgan

There have been 46 cases of COVID-19 in the community

Students at Lavington Elementary crammed a car full of non-perishables for those in the community facing food insecurity. Spearheaded by teacher January Peebles (left), the donations were picked up by Give LUCK founder Myrika Godard, who works to connect donors with donees in the North Okanagan. (Give LUCK photo)
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation at the legislature, Nov. 30, 2020. (B.C. government)
Hockey team brought COVID-19 back from Alberta, B.C. doctor says

Dr. Bonnie Henry pleads for out-of-province travel to stop

(Jennifer Smith - Morning Star file photo)
Three-car crash ties up Vernon intersection

One person transported by Ambulance for non-life threatening injuries

B.C. Premier John Horgan on a conference call with religious leaders from his B.C. legislature office, Nov. 18, 2020, informing them in-person church services are off until further notice. (B.C. government)
B.C. tourism relief coming soon, Premier John Horgan says

Industry leaders to report on their urgent needs next week

Most Read