by Dave Preston
Council members put up a stink Tuesday at the possibility of public porta potties anywhere near Beach Avenue.
District staff presented a report that temporary washrooms could be erected for walkers and beach goers near 13th street for about $2,500 to $3,500 for the summer season.
The suggestion was that porta potties could be placed in the district lot across 13th Street from the Gateway building.
Staff said it could cost between $75,000 and $250,000 to erect a permanent washroom facility in the area.
“It originally came up last September when the chamber asked for additional washrooms,” said CAO Elsie Lemke.
Council looked at funding washrooms in the 2012 budget but held off in favour of possibly locating washrooms at a new fire hall facility hear the highway or at the Oasis development, if possible.
“This is really a hot issue with the Chamber of Commerce,” said Mayor Keith Fielding. “Every time I meet with them, this is the number one issue.”
Fielding said he has heard from the chamber that there is increased traffic on Beach Avenue, especially pedestrian traffic, and a lot of people end up at Bliss Bakery on 13th Street to use the washrooms there.
Coun. Terry Condon said he sees a certain amount of irony in the situation where the district spent $3.9 million to attract people to Beach Avenue, which has increased traffic to businesses, and now the business community wants the district to fork out more money for washrooms for their customers.
Lemke said one contractor has offered to put up the washrooms and build a pergola over them to dress them up somewhat. She added the porta potties would have to be left open at night or arrangements would have to be made to lock them every night and unlock them every morning.
“We do need to provide a washroom facility at that spot,” said Condon, adding he is very opposed to a temporary washroom.
“I’m totally against a washroom on Beach Avenue,” said Coun. Vern Moberg. He suggested Lambly Park would be a better place.
“I’m totally opposed to portable facilities anywhere,” said Coun. Peter Schierbeck.
Putting porta potties at Lambly Park wouldn’t stop walkers on Centennial Way from going to Bliss Bakery, said Schierbeck.
Moberg suggested the district look at a portable washroom building, like an Atco trailer.
A motion was made for staff to report on other options but that motion failed.