Edmonton reopening 10 LRT washrooms, adding 12 mobile locations

After a wave of public backlash, city officials announced Monday that they are reopening a bunch of LRT washrooms in Edmonton.

City council approved locking the doors in February in an effort to reduce drug poisonings in transit station bathrooms, but the move was criticized by some transit users and advocates for people with addictions.

Ten locations were open again on Monday, with an enhanced safety plan, but the remaining eight remained closed as officials continued to work out ways to address challenges at those spots.

"On-site security guards will start doing hourly wellness checks on all public washrooms," explained Trevor Dennehy with the City of Edmonton.

"Washrooms will receive enhanced and extended hours of cleaning. Safety information on how to spot an overdose, how to prevent one from occurring will be placed in each washroom."

Sharps containers are also being added, security guards have been trained and supplied with Naloxone and information on addiction treatment options will be posted, Dennehy added while defending the initial closures.

"It wasn't a mistake because there were drug overdoses and poisonings behind those closed doors…Our plan is now to open them up and monitor how effective these new safety features are," he said.

Northgate, South Campus, Kingsway, Castle Downs, Meadows, Lewis Farms, Heritage Valley, Clareview, Southgate and Central washrooms were open again on Monday. There is no timeline on when the remaining locations would also be reopened.

The city also announced Monday that 12 new mobile washrooms are being set up in busy locations, six of which will be added this week, and the rest by the end of May.

The mobile units will be open from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. with extended hours for the Oilers playoffs. The locations are: Alberta Avenue Community League, Lauderdale Offleash Park, Warehouse Park site, Kinistinaw Park, Jasper Place Transit Station and near Boyle Street Community Services.

The city released a map of all public washrooms and officials said accessible options will soon be added to the trailers.

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Kyra Markov