Potty talk: Vancouver eyes Portland Loo as likely model for stand-alone washrooms in parks

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      The Vancouver board of parks and recreation plans to improve its service of providing public washrooms in the city.

      Part of a new strategy presented to the board includes the possibility of installing stand-alone lavatories.

      For freestanding toilets, the Portland Loo could serve as a model for Vancouver.

      A report to the board recommends looking at and piloting the Portland Loo or another alternative at a location.

      Portland Parks & Recreation states online that the loo is a product owned and sold to other municipalities by the City of Portland.

      There are six downtown loos open daily and round the clock in Portland.

      Other facilities are open during park hours.

      The Portland Loo conforms to U.S. disability standards for accessibility.

      A website dedicated to the loo notes that the facility is “designed specifically to prevent problems that are commonly experienced with public toilets”.

      These issues include drug use and prostitution.

      “The sleek and modern kiosk discourages crime with graffiti-proof wall panels and open grating,” the site states.

      Also, “they’re easy to clean, with commonly used components that are easy to replace or upgrade”.

      “First installed over 10 years ago,” the site relates, “The Portland Loo has proven to be a durable and inexpensive solution to keep your city clean and crime-free.”

      The loo’s open grating makes it easy to see how many people are inside.

      The coating on the steel wall panels makes it simple to clean the toilet with a hose.

      It can operate on solar power or low voltage power.

      The site also notes that the freestanding restroom “uses blue lights to prevent drug users from locating veins”. 

      The report to the Vancouver board of parks and recreation on a comprehensive washroom strategy includes short- and long-term recommendations.

      The suggestion about stand-alone washrooms is one of the short-term proposals.

      In addition to freestanding toilets, the proposed strategy also includes consideration of “washroom trailers that provide more durable, clean, and accessible solutions for high volume areas with construction restrictions”.

      The park board provides public washrooms in community centres, recreation facilities, and parks.

      “Most of these facilities were built decades ago and reflect the standards, social norms, and accessibility measures of those past eras,” states the report to the board.

      The facilities have an “average age of over 60 years old” and “many washroom structures are nearing the end of their functional life span”.

      There are 95 washrooms in the park board system.

      Other recommendations in the washroom strategy include improving accessibility to these facilities.

      The park board is scheduled to vote on the plan on Monday (November 2).