The District of Sooke is contemplating the installation of a new public washroom in John Phillips Memorial Park, just outside the doorsteps of their own building.
Staff gave a presentation, and noted that Sooke already operates three public washrooms: at Whiffin Spit, Ed McGregor and Broomhill park. All other washrooms on the trails are operated by CRD.
Council was to ponder three options: Fully automated, plumbed, or pit.
- An automated washroom could cost upward to $330,000.
- This self-cleaning facility would include seat sanitizers and cleaner, sensors to wash and dry hands, automated toilet paper dispenser per square, nozzles spraying the bottom of the toilet, monitored usage, and a control room that is controlled by specialty crews.
- This option uses the most water.
- A plumbed washroom could range in cost from $105,000 to $265,000.
- This option would include a sink, water, hand soap, lighting, heating, paper towels, garbage can, plumbed toilet and maintenance.
- This option would be connected to the sewer and hydro.
- A pit washroom would be about $30,000.
- This cheek chilling option would host the bare basics: the pit toilet, toilet paper, and hand sanitizer.
- This pit toilet would have a septic tank.
The staff recommendation was the pit style of toilet. Pit toilets are lower in maintenance, and less can go wrong. For every one issue in a pit toilet (toilet paper, hand sanitizer and a toilet), there are five for plumbed (sink, waters, hand soap, lighting, heating, paper towels, garbage can, and maintenance) washrooms.
Ultimately the report was received, but no further decisions were made. Council appeared to not favour pit toilets in heart of town, at the pinnacle park. Staff was directed to dig up the findings of the Parks Committee, and further contemplations would be in order.
The Council-and-Staff Discussion, in case you are interested, went something like this:
The CAO felt this could be a part of their Talk-tober event.
Councillor Brenda Parkinson noted the Parks Committee had already discussed this in great detail, and had done extensive public consultation. According to their findings, the Pit washrooms were not popular. Parkinson would not like to see a pit toilet in Sooke’s nicest park, in the centre of town. Having water in a washroom is important.
Mayor Maja Tait thinks the pits are great when there’s nothing else available. She didn’t like the idea of a pit toilet in the heart of town. Running water was important.
Councillor Kevin Pearson wondered about putting a public washroom in the building (Island Health previously occupied a few offices and that had been vacated). Staff said they are fully utilizing the building, so that opportunity has been lost.
Councillor Kerrie Reay said she rides the Goose on a regular basis and has no issue with the Pit washrooms maintained by the CRD. She wouldn’t want to put $105,000 towards a facility that gets destroyed on a regular basis is not a good use of money.
Councillor Rick Kasper, who is also not a fan of the pit option, felt the quoted costs seemed a bit high. Sewer and power could be run from the DOS building. He noted one unisex facility would suffice. By his estimation, annual maintenance would run $20,000 / year.
Councillor Bev Berger was not at the meeting.
Tait and Kasper will work with staff to get better clarity on pricing. “We need to get on with this.”
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