A new washroom has opened in Vernon’s downtown core, offering a creative solution to a long-standing issue.
“The City identified a need to add a washroom to the area, which can be used by all community members,” said Laurie Cordell, Manager of Long Range Planning and Sustainability. “We’ve seen significant amounts of vandalism to other sites so we needed to take a new approach.”
The stainless steel single stall washroom has been installed behind the bus stop on the corner of 30th Avenue and 35th Street.
The facility was inspired by the popular Portland Loo, which was developed in Portland, Ore. The small washrooms are now popping up in other B.C. communities such as Victoria and Nanaimo to solve similar public needs. The local facility was designed and built by Vernon-based Eagle Industries.
“The washroom is simple in design and functionality,” said Mike Beauregard, Manager of Building Services. “The interior consists of a toilet and hand sanitizer station. There is no sink and no mirror, reducing the opportunity for vandalism and discouraging users from spending much time inside.”
The stainless steel walls have a graffiti resistant coating and there are open slats at the top and bottom, offering privacy, but still allowing police to ensure there is only one person inside at a time and to see whether or not the user is in distress.
Once the City is satisfied with the operation of the unit, similar facilities are expected to replace the washrooms near the downtown bus terminus in order to reduce annual operation costs, vandalism and inappropriate use.
“Not only is this a homegrown product that showcases the forward-thinking nature of our community,” said Mayor Victor Cumming, “but it also provides a much-needed service for all residents and visitors in our city’s downtown core.”
The washroom will be open between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. and will be cleaned at least twice a day.