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Freestanding washrooms to be installed downtown

The search for a public washroom downtown during outdoor community events should be a bit easier this summer.

Two freestanding, completely serviced outdoor washrooms will be built adjacent to the Centennial Building which houses the Campbell River Art Gallery and the Visitor Information Centre.

The washrooms will be similar in design to those at Robert Ostler Park, Robron Park and Nunn’s Creek Park and will be equipped with auto-flush toilets, hands-free sinks and automatic locks to secure the washrooms at night.

City staff proposed the idea after the RCMP reported a rise in criminal behaviour in and around the Centennial Building’s indoor public washrooms a few years ago, said Andrew Bailey, the city’s facilities and property manager.

The existing single-user washrooms with locking doors offer a great deal of privacy and in the past encouraged unwanted behaviours.

“Problems reported by building tenants included verbal and physical threats to staff and the public, drug deals occurring in the foyer and washrooms, drug use occurring in the washrooms and significant degrees of vandalism and defacement of the washrooms themselves,” said Bailey.

In 2008, the washrooms were finally closed to the public after tenants had troubles trying to secure janitorial services. City staff worked with the tenants in 2009 to come up with a plan for upgrading the washrooms which would afford less privacy but came at a cost of $206,000 which was approved by council in 2010 budget deliberations.

However, construction was delayed and plans have now changed.

The new, current outdoor washrooms will cost considerably less at $90,000.

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