on October 5, 2016 by test_editor in WEB-EXTRA content, Comments Off on Web-extra (October 6, 2016): Portable toilet enhanced Carlington splash pad; Low cost alternative was “well used” this summer.

Web-extra (October 6, 2016): Portable toilet enhanced Carlington splash pad; Low cost alternative was “well used” this summer.

Web-extra (October 6, 2016): Portable toilet enhanced Carlington splash pad;
Low cost alternative was “well used” this summer.

By Alan Etherington.

“…City Council should expand this low-cost initiative to all of those pads without a public washroom nearby”

A small but significant pilot project took place this summer in Harrold Place. The splash pad in the middle of the Place hosted a portable toilet for four months to provide a facility for children and other visitors. Harrold Place is a popular gathering space with a covered gazebo, playground and green space. The costs of the project were paid for by the citizen advocacy group GottaGo Ottawa.

Before installation, GottaGo consulted with local neighbours and the larger community, through the Carlington Community Association,  the Carlington Community Health Centre and Councillour Riley Brockington. Many people were open to the idea though concerned about smell, graffiti or vandalism. After it was understood that the contractor would clean the toilet and change the chemical tank twice a week and that the toilet exterior would be painted, all agreed to let the pilot proceed.

The toilet was installed in May and painted with a mural by local artist Susan Srivastava. The toilet was removed at the end of September. “We know it was well used”, said Joan Kuyek, founder of GottaGo and a local resident, “because the contractor said the tank was always almost full”. “Visitors to the park told me they now stayed there longer, knowing that they and their kids had the toilet nearby if needed”.

The toilet cost GottaGo $580 to rent and clean for the four months and another $580 to paint. The rental cost worked out to be $5 a day, far less than to build a permanent facility.  A permanent washroon could cost about $200,000 plus utility hook-ups. There was no graffiti, no vandalism and no complaints about smell for the site. The facility was even large enough for wheel-chair users.

“Ottawa is blessed to have over 100 splash pads” said Kuyek “and this pilot suggests to us that City Council should expand this low-cost initiative to all of those pads without a public washroom nearby”.

Alan Etherington is a volunteer member of GottaGo, Ottawa.  GottaGo lobbies to increase both the number of public toilets in Ottawa as well as the hours they are accessible.

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Camouflaged but Obvious

Photo Caption The TARDIS-sized addition blended in with its fun mural at the playground of Harold Place (park is middle of Veteran Ave., South of Carling and Merivale Avenues). Photo provided by the author.

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