The City of Vernon will purchase three additional washroom facilities for $405,000 to serve the downtown core, but the location of the toilets were cause for disagreement among some councillors.
The original budget for two toilets was $365,000, communications manager Christy Poirier said. But when the cost of the first unit came in under budget, council decided to bump the budget to $405,000 with an additional $40,000 to purchase three units. This will fund the washroom facility on 30th Avenue and 35th Street, one washroom near the bus exchange and a third with a location yet to be determined.
Coun. Scott Anderson said the point of these toilets are to prevent people from “defecating in doorsteps,” and Coun. Kelly Fehr echoed his colleagues statements and suggested one be installed in Linear Park.
“The purpose is to provide bathrooms to those who don’t have them,” he said. “It takes away the need to relieve yourself in an alley.”
But Coun. Dalvir Nahal was adamant in saying a permanent washroom facility in Linear Park wasn’t ideal.
“We don’t want people congregating in Linear Park,” she said, referring to concerns residents have brought up to council.
“Crime happens, so why should we facilitate it,” Coun. Anderson agreed.
Councillors Nahal and Anderson said the hours of operation need to be considered in the new installations. The downtown bathroom on 30th Avenue closes at 8 p.m. and councillors said that doesn’t remedy waste issues that occur over night or in the early morning hours.
“Merchants are demanding an alternative to cleaning up waste in the morning,” Coun. Anderson said.