Town Council received the petition on the temporary downtown public washroom at the August 18 Regular Council Meeting, and determined no action was required on the issue.
The Ladysmith Health Food Store garnered signatures for their petition after expressing concerns about the cleanliness of the temporary washroom, and the close proximity to their storefront.
Councillor Rob Johnson proposed consulting the Ladysmith Health Food Store on a path forward for the temporary washroom, however due to the short term nature of the washroom, those consultations would be unlikely to result in any changes to the location, cleaning schedule, or existence of the washroom.
Chris Barfoot, director of Parks, Recreation, and Culture for the Town of Ladysmith said that the washroom is cleaned four times a week. Normally temporary washrooms are cleaned only once a week, however due to the close proximity to businesses, and the risk of COVID-19 exposure, they have a more rigorous cleaning schedule.
“The other step that we are doing is – in order to control the cleanliness – it’s locked up over the evening so that when it’s reopened for the next day, we know it’s going to be clean,” Barfoot said.
Councillor Johnson’s office looks directly at the temporary washroom site, and he said that the facility brings more benefits to the downtown core than negatives.
“The public washroom is heavily used. It’s an excellent addition to the community. Before it was there, it was not uncommon to see folks going behind the bush to do whatever. It is definitely an advantage to the community, and I think the local businesses should appreciate it, rather than having folks indiscriminately urinating or defecating behind the bushes,” he said.
Klair Strom of The Ladysmith Health Food Store said that she feels dismissed and unsupported by council.
“I am disappointed that our concerns were not taken more seriously and the issue was basically handled with a dismissive attitude,” Stom said.
“I question the quality of the cleaning happening around the toilet as there has been garbage lying around it for 2 days now and I have been watching to see if and when they will deal with it. Also, I’m concerned that it is being pumped out in the middle of the day during business hours when it releases to most smell.”
The Town said that the temporary washroom will remain in place until at least the end of September.