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'Inappropriate' washrooms will be redesigned

The city has finally settled on a plan to enhance the look of the washrooms outside the Visitor Centre.

The two washrooms, which opened to the public in October, are conveniently located beside Spirit Square, across from the library and behind the Art Gallery and Visitor Centre building.

But the washrooms have been criticized for not being aesthetically pleasing.

Still Water Books and Art owner, Ruth McMonagle, whose business is across the street from the washrooms said “they’re totally inappropriate.”

She told the Mirror just before the washrooms opened to the public that “they’re embarrassing, don’t match the style (of the Visitor Centre building) and anyone can see who’s going in and out.”

Now the city has decided to clad the washrooms with siding to match the Art Gallery and Visitor Centre building.

Ross Milnthorp, the city’s general manager of parks, recreation and culture, reported at the city’s community advisory meeting last month that the washrooms will also be landscaped, possibly using trellis and climbing vines.

Milnthorp noted at the meeting that had a public art policy already been in place, problems with the washrooms likely could have been avoided.

A month after the washrooms had been installed, the city attempted to make improvements by issuing a request for proposals asking for artistic submissions to turn the free-standing outdoor washrooms into public art.

Three submissions were received but none met the transformative goals of the project.

“While our call for artistic proposals brought forward some interesting opportunities to beautify the buildings or install public art in a complimentary way near the buildings, we have decided not to proceed with an art project because we felt that the submissions we received would not have truly transformed the buildings into public art,” Milnthorp said at the time.

According to the city, cladding the washrooms to tie them into the Art Gallery and Visitor Centre will cost less than the original art project proposal.

The washrooms were approved by council last year to provide public washroom facilities downtown for after hours events.

The washrooms are fully serviced with heat, auto flush toilets, hands free sinks, and automatic locks to secure them during the night. They are open daily 6:30 a.m.-10 p.m.

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