The city is about to launch a pilot program to take care of needing to go while downtown.
Seeing a need for public washrooms downtown, especially with the Oilers about to begin what fans hope will be a long playoff run, the city is going to launch a bathroom pilot project.
Details still need to be worked out said Ric Daviss, the executive director of the downtown arena project for the city.
City council’s community and public services committee dealt with a couple of reports on the arena, and the need for public washrooms.
“During the discussion I sent a note off to OEG [Oilers Entertainment Group] just saying what are the specifics that you’ve been hearing on this and how can we go about tackling it?” Daviss said. “So we’ve heard that it’s an issue, we’ve heard it’s a concern. It really hit home. We need to jump on it right now.”
The arena update report heard complaints about public urination, although Daviss couldn’t break it down if concert goers were more problematic than hockey fans.
Mayor Don Iveson said the approaching post-season is a good opportunity.
“With all of this downtown vibrancy that we’re creating by having the arena and the associated events down here we don’t want to inadvertently create an unintended consequence of a bad smell every morning after the night before.”
Council was told that the pilot can be handled using existing money in the budget. Coun. Scott McKeen was happy to see that.
“I think this can be done in a way that they’re monitored and they’re cleaned regularly, so that vulnerable population can use them, but also visitors to Chinatown, Little Italy, downtown, the new museum, whatever it is could also say there’s a washroom over there.”
The facilities are being described as “kiosks,” according to the mayor. They won’t be as built up as the one just north of Whyte Avenue at Gateway Blvd.
“The challenge is there’s no cheap and easy fix, particularly because of winter and the climate,” Iveson said. “The Portland Loo is great. I’ve used them myself. It probably doesn’t work in minus-30, just to keep the water running to flush it to keep it functional, so it’s a good solution but we’ve got to come up with a climate appropriate Edmonton solution.”
The glassed in Whyte Avenue model, when it became really cold, was taken over by individuals using it as a warming shelter.
The solution the mayor said, was to turn down the thermostat so it was just above freezing so the pipes wouldn’t freeze, but it was still cold enough that people wouldn’t stay in there for long stretches of time.