WATCH: Montreal gets its first self-cleaning public toilet

The City of Montreal unveiled the first of its 12 planned self-cleaning public toilets Tuesday — the first of which is located outside the Papineau metro station.

And journalists got their first look at what the new, $300,000 high-tech water closets will look like.

The toilets are equipped with robotic arms that spray and squeegee the floor and toilet down after each use.

Engineer Robert Bedard says they're designed for function rather than comfort.

"You push the access button, and you have 15 minutes to do what you have to do," he says.

In other words, your access to the washroom is timed. After your 15 minutes are up, the doors will open on you.

Merchants, tourists and pedestrians have been asking for public toilets for years.

A local homeless advocacy centre will be monitoring use of the toilets placed in high-traffic areas over the coming months. The next one is set to open at Place Emilie-Gamelin — aka Berri Square — on Thursday.

Another one of the public toilets, planned for Chinatown's Sun Yat-Sen Square, has led to protests among local merchants, who say they weren't consulted, and that placing a toilet in a park named for the father of modern China is a sign of disrespect to the community.