So, are the newly-installed toilets – some say outhouses – outside the Campbell River Art Gallery a badly-need downtown convenience or an eyesore?
How about both?
The need for public toilets in downtown Campbell River has been a need for a long time, not just for visitors and the shopping public but also to relieve civic facilities like the art gallery itself and the public library from the hassle of providing services to less-than considered users. The gallery had to close its washroom facilities because their abuse was so bad and the library across the street is frequently disrupted by abusive behaviour in a facility that serves as a hangout for people with seemingly nowhere else to go – both literally and figuratively.
So, the need for public toilets in the downtown core is irrefutable. The city’s provision of those facilities is desperately needed.
However, once again, we’re left wishing that the city could finesse these things better. These toilets stick out like the proverbial sore thumb. Could nobody have foreseen that?
We have a showcase public building – an art gallery, ironically – in the centre of the city and we stick what has been incorrectly but understandably mistaken for outhouses. City staff say they had to go where they are because of access sewer piping but it’s hard to believe that a few more meters of extension could not have provided to tuck these things into a less obtrusive spot.
There is also a plan to decorate the toilets in the future which is good and it could turn out to be a fun feature like the downtown piano and its painting by kids. These toilets are undoubtedly going to be tagged at some point (covered in graffiti) any way.
Even putting some sort of screen around them that fit with the decor of the Centennial Building doesn’t seem like a difficult concept. Oh well, hopefully we’ll learn something from this.