Vernon’s downtown washroom at 35th Street and Coldstream Avenue is fully functional after a plumber fixed a problem with the flush valve. (Morning Star - file photo)

Third public washroom location flushed in Vernon

Council votes to put new loo in transit exchange not Linear Park

Vernon’s third downtown loo is being added to the existing one at the transit exchange despite original plans to place it at Linear Park.

“I don’t want to see a public washroom at Linear Park right now,” said Coun. Dalvir Nahal, supporting the location change from Coun. Brian Quiring.

Coun. Kelly Fehr wanted to see the third facility at Linear Park to service those that frequent the area.

But moving the facility where there is already one will carry a cost savings of more than $27,000.

The bigger issue that Vernon politicians discussed Monday was how long the washrooms are open.

“We installed these to allow some access to a washroom at night and the one we have isn’t open at night,” Mayor Victor Cumming said.

Fehr agrees: “I do think that all three of them, regardless of where they are located do need to be 24 hours.”

But keeping the washrooms open all night poses some risks.

“There are some concerns that if the washrooms are open 24-7 people will move in,” said Shirley Koenig, Vernon’s operational services director.

CAO Will Pearce added: “Unfortunately what happens between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. not always is the best of things to happen in a public facility.

“There is a significant impact on cleaning and maintenance.”

Increasing cleaning and security would also bump up the cost of the washrooms.

Meanwhile the washrooms are already suffering some issues.

There have been incidents of graffiti, people staying in the washrooms longer than required and improperly discarded needles, despite a needle drop box in the washrooms.

There have also been some issues with the existing washrooms not being open at all.

“The current one is closed a lot, and it’s closed for multiple days at a time,” Mayor Cumming said.

“Even at the Light Up, it wasn’t working. It seems like an odd night to not have the public washroom open.”

The closures were due to the cold temperatures and staff ensure steps are being made to remedy that.

Pearce warns that the washrooms will likely close again if temperatures drop to -20 Celsius.

READ MORE: City of Vernon strikes new deal with CUPE

READ MORE: Okanagan library use on the rise


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