City eyes replacing Centennial washrooms

City council is eyeing spending $215,000 to replace the washrooms in Centennial Square, as part of a long-term plan for the square.

City council is eyeing spending $215,000 to replace the washrooms in Centennial Square, as part of a long-term plan for the area next to city hall.

Staff originally presented council with an option to complete a minor renovation to build a single-stall washroom in the square at a cost of $65,000.

However, many councillors said a single stall could be problematic in the long run. Council opted to allocate up to $215,000 from the city’s building and infrastructure reserve fund to build a larger washroom in the current location during a meeting Thursday.

Coun. Charlayne Thornton-Joe said having a washroom in the square is incredibly important to accommodate the increasing number of residents and tourists who use the area for a variety of reasons year-round, including the city’s homeless population who rely on them for 24/7 use.

“I do want washrooms there. I’d like us to look to more permanent washrooms, not just one stall. I really think when you look at the wants and needs, having a permanent washroom is a need and something we can’t think of as future planning down the road,” she said, noting taxi drivers also use the washrooms. “I think it’s worth the money that we spend in the long-term.”

Last year, council agreed to update the washrooms, which have been in operation since 1965, spending $125,000 to do so.

However, shortly after work began this year, crews discovered the existing walls were considered to be unsound. Since then, renovations have grounded to a halt.

Many councillors struggled between choosing a single-stall washroom and a larger facility at a higher cost.

Mayor Lisa Helps called the decision a challenging one, adding if there was an overdose in the washroom or someone was to get sick during a festival, it would cause a big headache for people wishing to use it.

“I think I’m willing to stand up and defend our $340,000 expenditure over a period of three to five years, so people can access those washrooms,” she said.

Coun. Jeremy Loveday voted against spending the money, adding a more cost-effective and creative solution could be found.

“When you look at the money that we’ve sunk into it . . . it seems too much for me. You could build a nice house for this amount of money,” he said.

Updating the washrooms is part of the development of a master plan for the revitalization of Centennial Square.

The plan also proposes the addition of a children’s play feature. Staff would take a similar approach to the project as they did with the Ship Point Pop-up design competition in the summer, creating a competition to install a temporary play feature for next year.

The long-term plan will also look at the future of the fountain, a new wood carving space, new permanent recreational equipment, such as table tennis or chess boards, renaming of the square, and investments to maintain the existing Centennial Parkade.

Staff will report back to council with options for washrooms, including gender neutral and wheelchair accessible stalls, in January.

 

 

Just Posted

Greater Victoria enjoys sunny first day of spring

Summer-like temperatures of 21 degrees hit Wednesday for first day of spring

Esquimalt puts freeze on taxes for local businesses

The tax increase for residents sits at 5.51 per cent, averaging to an additional $46

Bitter Saturna land-use dispute highlights legal grey areas

Unhappy Tsawout accuse leadership of cultural destruction

Development replacing Fairfield United Church gets final approval

The new Unity Commons Development will take over the space at 1303 Fairfield Rd.

Saanich forwards student-targeted development to public hearing

Proposed development advertises itself to individuals who want a car-free lifestyle

VIDEO: Can you believe it? This B.C. hill pulls cars backwards up a slope

Sir Isaac Newton had clearly never been to this Vernon anomaly when he discovered gravity

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of March 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: When do you think the next major earthquake will hit Vancouver Island?

According to seismologists, Vancouver Island is overdue for a magnitude 7 earthquake.… Continue reading

Canucks hang on for 7-4 win over Senators

Horvat nets 2 for Vancouver

European, Canadian regulators to do own review of Boeing jet

Air Canada plans to remove the Boeing 737 Max from its schedule at least through July 1

Prime minister defends Liberal budget measures as sales effort gets underway

Conservatives under Andrew Scheer say it’s a spree funded by borrowing against the future

Mayor meets with B.C. health minister on homeless taxi transfers

Two homeless people were discharged from Surrey Memorial and sent to a Chilliwack shelter

B.C. lottery winner being sued by co-workers

They claim he owes them $200,000 each, in a lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver

Teacher reprimanded for conduct towards special needs student

Alan Stephen Berry told vice principal he did not have time to use positive strategies

Most Read