It’s been a long wait on what some might call an urgent issue, but council has finally approved a new public washroom for Penticton’s downtown core.
The new washrooms, with two gender-neutral units, will be situated in the city parking lot between the 200 block of Main Street and Backstreet Boulevard.
Council first discussed the washroom issue last June, directing city staff to source a local supplier for a washroom facility, but it was back before council in August, when city engineer Ian Chapman said facilities staff were finding themselves cleaning up, on an almost daily basis, the mess resulting from the previous night’s use of various facilities around the city as public washrooms.
“It is quite a disgusting mess that they have to clean up. We are proposing to install some temporary washrooms, basically a standard rental porta-potty, that will be there for the remainder of this summer,” he said at the time.
“The problem at the moment appears to be that there are no washroom facilities available anywhere in the city after dusk. All the public washrooms that we own and operate are closed at dusk. If we have these available the problem of the mess that is created should disappear.”
Council approved the use of porta potties at the time, and now, a unanimous vote to approve the new facility, which Mitch Moroziuk, director of operations, said could be done within the $75,000 budget approved for the project. The unit itself, constructed by Timberwolf Precast of Golden, B.C., costs $48,000 itself, with additional costs for stainless steel fixtures and installation costs.
What hours it will be open remain open to question. Moroziuk said the intention is to have it open as much as possible in the summertime but it may close during the winter.
Coun. Judy Sentes, who was on the Downtown Revitalization Committee that made the recommendaction, said there had been months of discussion on the issue, and the recommendation might be to lock them in the winter and put up two portables.
The committee’s consensus is the washroom should be in the area of the breezeway in 200 block of Main Street, have a wood grain pattern impressed into concrete walls, the stainless steel feature should include a small sink, and that the building have the potential to add heating in the future.