St. Catharines residents asked to weigh in on potential $500,000 public washroom

CKTB - NEWS - Toilet Paper

St. Catharines residents are being asked to weigh in on a new public washroom.

In November council debated the potential facility, noting the pandemic has highlighted the need for more infrastructure as many bathrooms in places like stores and restaurants closed to the public due to provincial restrictions. City staff recommended allocating $500,000 from the capital budget to build a self contained, self-cleaning unit.

The discussion is now opening up to the community, with city staff asking what kind of washroom the public wants and where it should go.

Although the automated washroom is still being considered, residents can also put their support behind a minimalist Portland Loo-style facility, or a more conventional public restroom. City staff say the automated option would offer more flexible operating hours, but it does come with a hefty price tag.

Initially Councillor Greg Miller put forward an amendment to place the washroom in the Queenston Street area near Centennial Gardens after receiving a letter from the Queenston Neighbours expressing concerns regarding consistent access to public washrooms. The group says they have had to clean human waste off their properties and turn away people asking to use private facilities during the course of the pandemic. Committee ultimately voted against the Queenston Street placement but councillors supported the overall idea.

During the November debate Councillor Karrie Porter said "It is a class issue, equity issue, and a public health issue...We don't all have access to the same treatment on private property or the ability to buy something in order to be given the right to use a private bathroom facility."

Feedback can be submitted through the city's website, EngageSTC.ca/WashroomConsultation.