Campbell River is hoping a fancy new low-maintenance public toilet designed to discourage vagrancy and withstand vandalism will be the answer to a longstanding program downtown.
So much so that they’re spending $200,000 on it.
The city is buying a Portland Loo for $161,209.78, with he remainder of the $200,000 budget set aside for its installation.
It did receive a bid for a new bathroom facility from another company, RecTec Industries, for only $67,324, but that bid didn’t meet the needs of the city, according to development services manager Kevin Brooks.
“One of the key things in regard to downtown washroom facilities that you’re seeing throughout North America is the ability for sight lines, ensuring the safety of the people using the washroom but also ensuring that if people are inside the washroom and are unconscious, people can see into the washroom,” Brooks said. “We contacted RecTec directly to ask if they were able to address some of these issues with their current design and they informed us that no, they were not able to achieve that. With our consultation with the RCMP and protective services, it was very, very key that those issues were addressed if we were going to site and obtain another facility.”
The Portland Loo unit designed in 2008 by the City of Portland, Oregon, who wanted to address the “nightmare issues that had occurred with other city toilets open to the public 24/7,” according to Madden’s website. They took feedback from engineers, parks staff, fire and police departments and more in creating the fabricated metal lavatory with open grate sections, anti-graffiti wall panels, interchangeable and replaceable building components and easy-to-clean coating. Portland now has 15 of the facilities operating around town.
Victoria has five of the facilities in operation – it was the first city to install one outside of Portland – Vancouver has five, Kamloops has two, and Smithers and Nelson each have one, as does Nanaimo.
Mayor Andy Adams says he expects it will essentially pay for itself in short order.
“Having seen the Porland Loos that are in Nanaimo and in Bastion Square in Victoria and some other locations, had council made the decision five or six years ago to purchase this, we probably could have paid for it just in what we’re spending in repairs and maintenance of the existing facility,” Adams says. “But hindsight is 20/20.”
But don’t expect to see the sleek metal contraption installed in downtown Campbell River anytime soon.
The city hasn’t even decided yet where it will be placed or whether it will replace a current washroom facility or add to the options downtown.