Returning one portable washroom facility near Vernon’s Linear Park through to mid-December won’t happen.
Council defeated, by a 4-3 margin, a motion put forward Tuesday by Coun. Brian Quiring to reinstall one of two porta-potties situated behind the People Place through until Dec. 15. Councillors Scott Anderson, Akbal Mund, Kari Gares and Dalvir Nahal were in opposition.
Two porta-potties were placed for the summer months behind the People Place and were removed for the fall and winter during the first week of October. That prompted a letter to the city from the People Place general manager Elaine Collison, calling for the return of at least one of the two washrooms.
“That service was very helpful for us, in that it cut down dramatically the number of people coming in and out of People Place asking to use our washroom facilities,” Collison said. “Now, we are experiencing the same issues as before, with constant requests from those who are spending their days on Linear Park asking to use our washrooms.”
Collison said the problem is, if they refuse to let people use their facilities, “they simply go outside and urinate/defecate against the building.”
“There are three corners of our building that are so rank with urine, they are impossible to keep clean,” Collison said. “We have gated our dumpster enclosure to discourage its use as an outdoor toilet. We have picked up bucket loads of feces and quite frankly, we cannot continue to do this. The time it takes for People Place management and Independent Living Vernon staff to manage the washrooms takes away from the work we should be doing.”
On the verge of considering returning one porta-potty, council was then informed by city staff that the porta-potty provider had withdrawn its services after its drivers had reportedly been threatened with needles, and chains keeping the porta-potties together had been stolen.
“In lieu of the needles threat, I’m changing my vote to no,” Coun. Anderson said.
The city has found another company that will provide and service the porta-potties. The cost for two facilities is $2,800 per month.