Flush with cash: Vancouver’s $645,000 public toilet raises eyebrows

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Other British Columbia communities have installed a similar outdoor public toilet for a third of the cost

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Katie DeRosa

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March 22, 2021 • • 11 hours ago • • Read for 3 minutes • • 15 comments This pre-made toilet is built by an Oregon-based company called Portland Loo and costs $ 150,000. This pre-made toilet is built by an Oregon-based company called Portland Loo and costs $ 150,000. PNG

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At $ 645,000, the public outdoor toilet planned for Coopers’ Park in Vancouver could be the Cadillac of Loos.

Critics wonder how a single public toilet rivals a small house in terms of construction costs, especially since other communities in British Columbia have installed similar facilities for a third the price.

The pre-made toilet, built by an Oregon-based company called Portland Loo, costs just $ 150,000, according to the Vancouver Parks Department that oversees Coopers’ Park under the Cambie Bridge.

The rest of the money will be used for plumbing and water connections in the park, as well as for the installation and landscaping of structural pillows, according to the park board spokeswoman Daria Wojnarski.

Wojnarski was unable to provide a further breakdown of the installation costs as the contracts have not yet been awarded.

Funding comes from the NDP government’s Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program, which provides $ 100 million for such projects.


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Ken Sim, who plans to challenge Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart in the 2022 election, asked how a single public toilet could fetch more than half a million dollars for taxpayers.

“You could build an alley for less money. It’s crazy, ”he said. Sim said this money could be used to support nonprofits battling the COVID-19 pandemic like Science World, the Vancouver Aquarium or the Vancouver Public Library.

Sim said he supported public toilets that give dignity to vulnerable people who have nowhere else to go, but wondered if this could be done for less. According to other communities, this can be done for a fraction of the price.

A similar public toilet in Portland Loo is costing the city of Prince Rupert $ 200,000, money given by the federal government to help communities affected by homelessness. At a city council meeting in February, Prince Rupert’s councilors were told that the toilet would cost about $ 30,000 a year to maintain. Esquimalt Township installed the Memorial Park toilet in 2019 for $ 150,000, including concrete slab, plumbing, and plumbing.

Portland Loo takes pride in its toilets offering a “permanent and affordable” way to keep the streets clean with graffiti-proof walls and open bars to prevent crime.

Vancouver City Coun. Melissa De Genova said Monday she asked city and park officials a reason for the $ 645,000 price, especially since other communities have installed the same structure for hundreds of thousands of dollars less. She is waiting for an explanation.


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De Genova strongly supports public toilets but said more could be built if provincial funding could be expanded further.

“I would really hope that the money can be redistributed to provide more washrooms in Vancouver’s parks, especially given the urgent need for public washrooms during the pandemic,” she said.

BC Liberals’ job critic Todd Stone described the spending as “outrageous,” especially given the fact that many nonprofits are ineligible for the NDP government’s Business Recovery Grant program.

“To make the injury worse, we all agree that public washrooms are important. However, the NDP does not believe that giving more than half a million dollars to build a toilet through Vancouver is an appropriate use of government aid, “Stone said in a statement.” With the (restoration infrastructure program) now closed, hang many performing arts venues barely stuck to it, while the NDP was spending half a million dollars on a Toilet. ”

The toilet has yet to be shipped from Portland and is expected to be installed in the fall.

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