Acts of vandalism to public washrooms downtown has resulted in Vernon city council making some changes to those facilities.
Council has unanimously directed staff to reduce the hours of operation for civic washrooms near the Vernon transit exchange on 31st Street to 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Saturday, and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
“We’ve had vandalism, illegal activities and other activities misusing the facilities that were inappropriate,” said City of Vernon director of operation services Shirley Koenig.
Just last week, all of the mirrors in the washrooms were broken and smashed.
“It’s been an ongoing issue for some time,” said Koenig of the vandalism.
Council further directed staff to review the installation of a video surveillance system using potential cost savings from the washroom cleaning contract, which is going out to tender with the reduced hours.
If it’s financially and legally viable, video cameras will be installed.
“If we restrict the amount of hours, and we have more eyes and ears around the times the washrooms are open for legitimate users of the washrooms, hopefully that will address the issue,” said Coun. Juliette Cunningham.
The washrooms were originally constructed for the intended use of transit passengers and people shopping downtown.
Council also agreed to extend the washroom service to facilitate special events in the downtown area as required, such as the popular Civic Sounds free concerts held during the summer months in front of the Greater Vernon Museum.