Downtown Vernon's 24/7 public washrooms could see reduced hours | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Downtown Vernon's 24/7 public washrooms could see reduced hours

The public washroom at the corner of 30 Avenue and 35 Street in downtown Vernon is pictured in this November 2019 file photo.
January 13, 2021 - 3:05 PM

Vernon's state-of-the-art, 24/7, vandal-resistant, $110,000 apiece public washrooms are frequently being vandalized and a Vernon councillor wants to address whether they should remain open throughout the night.

At Vernon city council's Jan. 11 meeting, councillor Dalvir Nahal asked City staff to report back on how much the vandalism was costing the City and suggested the pricey toilets opening hours should be reviewed.

"If they are being misused maybe we need to rethink having them open for 24 hours," Nahal told the meeting. "(The washrooms) are not being used for the intended purpose."

Coun. Nahal said she'd recently been told by a resident that they wanted to use the washroom at 7 a.m. but couldn't as more than one person was in the washroom and they refused to leave.

"I feel that these bathrooms are being misused," Nahal said. "These washrooms are intended for everybody."

The idea for the 24/7 toilets was first pitched in 2018 and was one of many recommendations from a task force addressing issues facing the downtown core and the street entrenched population. One of the major complaints from business owners was that homeless people were defecating in doorways as the City public washrooms were closed at night.

However, when the first washroom at the corner of 30 Avenue and 35 Street opened in October 2019 it closed at 8 p.m. The loos' early closing time was the topic of much debate and councillors were confused as to why the toilets were being not kept open all night as planned.

The closing time was later extended until 10 p.m. and in the spring of 2020 they opened 24 hours a day.

In May 2019, the City reported consistent vandalism at its washroom at 31 Avenue, which at the time closed at 6 p.m.

City staff are now due to report back to council on how much the vandalism is costing and during what hours is it taking place.

READ MORE: Despite new public washroom, downtown Vernon still dealing with defecation issues

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