Big ticket bathrooms coming to Boyce-Gyro Beach Park

Boyce-Gyro Beach Park is set to get some shiny new washrooms.

With at least $350,000 worth of renovations on tap for the washrooms in the park, staff pitched council with plans to build new ones on Monday.

Those plans would up the project's budget to $674,000, but also produce a facility that can be acessed year-round, unlike the current building that shuts down in the winter.

It would also add more bathroom stalls, include a universal family washroom, and modernize an amenity that councillor Tracy Gray described as dark and creepy.

Parks Manager Robert Parlane says the proposed renovation would have extended the washroom's life by only 20 years.

"When we consider all the costs over the life of the washroom, new construction is a much better value than renovation," he said.

"Renovation typically has more hidden costs, wheras new construction will offer better amenities, actually will reduce the maintenance, and (have) a longer design life, over the life of the building."

Councillor Gail Given says she'd rather fill the need now, instead of pushing it a couple decades down the road.

"Honestly, when I look at this and see that a renovation is going to be $350,000, and we still have the same old, ugly building, and it only has 20 years lifespan, I can easily support the $674,000 to build a new building that gives us a best class washroom facility in our premier beach park in the city. I have no problem supporting that."

Councillor Charlie Hodge stood firm in his opposition to it, saying the $674k gave him sticker shock.

"I have a very hard time swallowing a pill that says $674,000 for a washroom. I know times have changed, (but) I'm looking at toilets, not the Taj Mahal," he said.

"I just have a hard time justifying allocating funds to that, no matter where they come from."

With the intial $350,000 already in the budget, the remaining $324,000 would come from cancelled projects, one of them being the Queensway bus loop washrooms.

Staff also pointed out that City Park washrooms built in 2013 cost close to $500,000 - not the $800,000 that's been quoted in the public.