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Burnaby presses TransLink for toilets 0

Jeremy Nuttall, 24 hours

'Portland Loo' toilets are easy and cost efficient to install says Burnaby councillor Nick Volkow, but TransLink insists public washrooms are too costly.

'Portland Loo' toilets are easy and cost efficient to install says Burnaby councillor Nick Volkow, but TransLink insists public washrooms are too costly.

The city of Burnaby is once again asking TransLink to stop flushing away the suggestion of installing toilets along its SkyTrain line.

Burnaby council passed a motion Monday night requesting more information from the transportation authority regarding the issue.

Last autumn, the city sent TransLink a letter requesting the installation of such washrooms, but TransLink replied there isn’t enough money in the budget for upkeep and installation. But the excuse didn’t wash for Councillor Nick Volkow, who said there is a desperate lack of public toilets in Metro Vancouver.

“If you’ve got to go to the can you may as well go join the junkies and everybody else who’s taking a dump in some poor guy’s doorway to his business,” Volkow said. “I don’t want to be crass about it, but that’s the reality.”

A TransLink official told 24 hours it doesn’t have the infrastructure or staffing to support such a project and that building new toilets would be too costly. The official stressed those who need a washroom desperately enough can take advantage of a “goodwill policy” to use staff washrooms, but whether someone can use one is decided on a case-by-case basis.

Volkow doesn’t like the idea of looking for someone to ask permission to use the washroom. He said one idea is to install Portland Loos, an innovative public toilet developed by the city of Portland, Ore. According to that city’s website the toilets are small stainless steel enclosures connected to the city’s sewage system that use solar power for lighting at night.

“It’s a cool looking john, to be quite honest,” said Volkow.

The City of Portland said the toilets cost anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000 to build and install depending on the location.

 

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