Who’s responsible for the outhouses?

Those new additions in front of the Art Gallery are now the focal point in the cultural center of Campbell River

Don’t say outhouses, say tourist attractions. Those new additions in front of the Art Gallery are now the focal point in the cultural center of Campbell River. To further enhance their appeal there are suggestions of building a “hiding wall” and/or adding art in some way, both band-aid solutions, but who knows? Right now they are ugly and disgusting, opening out onto the street, out of place among the rest of the architecture and against the grain of the intentions of the area which could be to continue with the city’s beautification program and to have some class. Use Willow Point as an example. A year and a half ago, according to executive director of the Art Gallery, Jeanette Taylor, the building closed its public washrooms due to abuse. Whose decision is it to close to the public, a public washroom in a public building – a public which includes tourists, patrons of the arts, handicapped people, the elderly, VIP’s, as well as, an undesirable, criminal element? Is there no obligation on the part of a public service to provide toilet facilities? All those in need were redirected to the library and/or the Community Centre, also public buildings, the toilets of which remained open to all of the public in spite of occurring abuse. Isn’t it wrong to redirect those who abuse a building with vandalism and criminal activities to a library where there are children of all ages, and a variety of community members some of whom are elderly and handicapped. Surely their safety is as important as anyone’s? And because the Art Gallery closed its indoor facilities, the city then provided them, a year and a half later, with outhouses, albeit with plumbing. This problem concerned all the businesses and public services in the area. Did any discussions take place? Who in their right mind would put outhouses on Main Street? And are these new outbuildings wheelchair accessible? How do those in charge hope to solve the problem of crime and vandalism and protect those who now have to use toilet facilities outdoors? Perhaps the safety of the main street location is some consolation, along with the fact that the doors open out to the traffic and sidewalks. I am left wondering which members of the public will be using these facilities, benefiting from this poorly thought-out and executed decision. In the end, who is responsible? Thanks to the Mirror for excellent coverage. M.L. Jaeb-Marksteiner Campbell River

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