Limerick Township council, at their meeting on July 19, had a discussion about making the washrooms at the community centre more accessible. After discussing how to get this done as soon as possible, and determining it would cost around $200,000, Victoria Tisdale, the clerk and treasurer said she would look into it further and present a report on actual costs to council at the next council meeting in August.
The discussion on this issue began with Councillor Ingo Weise remarking that neither of the bathrooms at the community centre were accessible, and that they had had tenders out for this work for years with a view to making this happen. By 2025, under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disability Act, it will be required to have a fully accessible Ontario for people with disabilities, so this work on the bathrooms needs to be done sooner rather than later.
Weise made a suggestion that they have outdoor bathrooms installed at the community centre, as he had back at the March council meeting, like the ones they have at McGeachie Conservation Area.
“If there’s money put aside for that, would it be possible to use that money for the outside bathrooms and would that cover our responsibility with regard to the accessible bathrooms?” he says.
Tisdale said that should cover it, as the money was available in the reserves, and if council approves it, it should be doable.
Weise pointed out that there would be issues with ensuring the facilities were four season washrooms and could thus be used in the winter. Tisdale agreed that it does create an issue if they are making people go outside to use them.
“It’s better than they have now, but we’ll have to ensure they’re constantly cleaned, maintained and heated in the winter,” she says.
Tisdale asked if there was something about the indoor bathrooms that made it a problem to make them accessible versus doing the outdoor bathrooms. George Offshack, the owner of Limerick Lake Lodge, said that from what he recalled, there was not enough space between the two bathrooms to do the renovation effectively.
“And there’s something about the plumbing being in a crawl space that you can’t easily get to underneath. Several councils ago, and this came up and that whole side of the building was going to have to be changed, demoed inside and the plumbing would have to be moved from up underneath the floor,” he says.
Offshack said the budget for the renovation was way above what was being considered for tender at that time, eight to 10 years ago.
Councillor Kim Carson said that at least if they could solve the accessibility issue with the outdoor washrooms, that would help.
Weise said the other issue he had was the multi purpose usage of the property.
“It can be used by people picnicking, using the playground and more. So, the outdoor washrooms would be useful,” he says.
Through the discussion, it was determined that the cost of building outdoor four-season washrooms or doing a renovation of the indoor washrooms would cost around $200,000. Council asked Tisdale to look into it further and come up with some actual costs to get the washrooms accessible, in whatever form they end up choosing, either the renovated indoor washrooms or new four-season outdoor washrooms.
Tisdale confirmed that to do the work to make the washrooms at the community centre accessible, they have some money set aside in the reserves for it, but will need to procure a grant to be able to complete the work.
“The main thing is to get the washrooms accessible for everyone. However, we will need to look at the septic, as well as being prepared for any other unforeseen issues that may arise,” she says. “There is a grant available right now, and I will be applying for it to help offset costs.”
Michael Riley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Bancroft Times