Anew railing has been installed on the planter beside the city's controversial downtown toilet to prevent people from attempting to observe those using the toilet. It is the latest amendment to the facility since it opened Aug. 2.
Dubbed the 'Wharf Street Loo,' and touted as a safe, clean alternative to public urination, the $120,000 public toilet became clogged and was out of order less than a day after it opened.
It has since been recently fitted with a new keypad to guarantee accessibility for repair work and emergencies, said Jeff Ritchie, senior manager of parks and civic facilities.
Now fully operational, the planter railing was installed Monday to assure the privacy of the people using the toilet, said Coun. Fred Pattje.
"I had my first look at it when it plugged, and at that point I had noted that there was the possibility of stepping up (on the planter)," said Pattje.
"Not that you could see anything, but people would attempt to peek in, so I sent a message to Jeff Ritchie at that point."
The cost of the railing was "less than $1,000," said Ritchie, and was installed to also deter people from attempting to climb on the roof of the building, as the toilet has become a "high-profile item."
Though the location of the new loo beside a cement planter box is somewhat unfortunate, Pattje said it was the best possible option out of the three placements that had been considered.
A location next to the library became untenable when the city received a "very stiff letter" from the chairwoman of the Vancouver Island Library board, said Pattje.
A placement further back into the square was also considered, but it was much too far from where people typically empty out from bars and pubs into Commercial Street, he added.
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