One washroom in Vernon’s downtown core will be open 24-hours for a three-month trial period. (Morning Star - file photo)

Downtown Vernon washrooms to be open 24-7 on trial basis

$24K for three-month trial brings up concerns about sleepovers

One portable washroom in Vernon’s downtown core will be open 24-hours on a three-month trial basis.

Vernon councillors discussed the ongoing agenda item during council’s last scheduled meeting amid the rapidly evolving COVID-19 crisis on March 23.

Concerns were raised about individuals camping out in the bathrooms overnight rendering them unavailable to those who require them.

Coun. Akbal Mund’s primary concern was RCMP told council policing the washrooms would be a low priority and bylaw officers don’t work past midnight.

“No one will deal with it from midnight to 6 a.m., but if someone is using it and it’s occupied, is it really open for 24 hours?” he asked.

Coun. Kari Gares asked for more information from bylaw and RCMP regarding how frequently people have to be evicted from the portable washrooms, but bylaw couldn’t answer on the spot.

With the next date of council unknown at this time, councillors decided to cut the length of the trial in half to ensure the budget of $24,000 could accommodate additional cleanings and sanitation amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Administration supported the shorter trial as the six-month period was planned before the COVID-19 issues and extra cleaning will be required to adhere to provincial health official’s directions.

The $24,000 will come from the 2018 Unexpended Uncommitted Balance.

READ MORE: Local states of emergency to be lifted amid provincewide declaration: Vernon mayor

READ MORE: Vernon public hearing cancelled, future council meetings postponed


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