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$645K public toilet planned for Vancouver park raises questions

(Source: Portland Loo)

$645,000 toilet for Vancouver raising some questions

Canadian Taxpayer's Federation doesn't dispute the need for the toilet, but wonders about the price

The project is still with park board staff not yet before commissioners

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Questions are being asked about a $645,000 outdoor toilet the City of Vancouver has planned for a downtown park.

It’s not about why the self-cleaning toilet is needed for Coopers’ Park, but rather why it will cost as much as it does to install it while other municipalities have done the same thing for less.

B.C. Liberals’ jobs critic Todd Stone takes issue with the funding, which is coming from the province’s Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program.

“The $645,000 price tag for this single-user toilet seems extravagant. A number of other municipalities have reached out to me over the last couple of days saying they have purchased the exact same toilet for a lot less,” he said.

“Esquimalt installed one of these toilets a year and a half ago for $150,000, as one recent example.”

Stone said the cost in Esquimalt including plumbing and landscaping, has been cited as the reason for the major costs in Vancouver.

The outdoor toilet from Portland Loo, an Oregon-based company, is described as easy to clean as well as inexpensive to install and run.

Kris Sims, with the Canadian Taxpayer’s Federation, doesn’t dispute the need for the new toilet but says the costs don’t make sense.

“When you’re dealing with public and you’re dealing with things like waste you definitely want something that is self-cleaning, so low maintenance. So that all sounds fine. It’s the installation part that we’re asking questions about. Why on earth did the cost balloon to hundreds of thousands of dollars?” she says.

“Most people could build a couple at least decent homes for that amount of money so I think people are right to ask is this truly a waste of money are we flushing money down the toilet?” she says.

The Vancouver Park Board says this project is still with staff and a final decision hasn’t been made.