Nowhere to 'go' on Entry Island has tourists relieving themselves near residents' homes

·2 min read
Residents say two public washrooms on Entry Island's wharf run on a septic tank, which, when it gets full, gets shut down until it can be emptied.  (Isabelle Larose/CBC - image credit)
Residents say two public washrooms on Entry Island's wharf run on a septic tank, which, when it gets full, gets shut down until it can be emptied. (Isabelle Larose/CBC - image credit)

When Alvin Dickson gazes out the window of his Entry Island home in the summertime, he said it's not uncommon to see something even more astonishing than the beautiful scenery.

The lifelong resident of the quaint, three-kilometre-long isle off the east coast of the Magdalen Islands says a lack of public washrooms has resulted in tourists relieving themselves anywhere they can — which is often in plain sight.

"We look out the window and see someone squatting down in the field," Dickson said. "There was a gentleman here — I don't know if you can call him a gentleman or not — he stopped and took a pee right on our driveway."

Dickson says he has nothing against tourists who ferry onto the island for a sojourn, and he doesn't blame them when nature calls. He says the problem is a lack of facilities and lack of action from the municipality.

"We have two washrooms at the wharf and they work a couple of days a week," he said. The toilets run on a septic tank, which, when it gets full, gets shut down until it can be emptied. Dickson said it can take three or four days for that to happen.

"I feel sorry for [the tourists]," he said.

'Get things under control'

Brian Josey owns a restaurant by the wharf and says he has also been dealing with the consequences.

"A lot of the time, [tourists] do come here to the restaurant and I never refuse anybody," he said. The restaurateur says he gets anywhere between 75 to 150 people a day asking to use his washroom.

"It's time for whoever's in charge of the bathrooms here to get things under control," since this has been an ongoing issue for the past couple of years, he said.

"It's not a tourist problem, it's a problem with the municipality."

Dickson and Josey are both calling for more facilities and quicker action from officials.

In a statement to CBC News, the municipality of the Magdalen Islands said it is aware of the problems. It says everything from a record number of tourists to difficulties getting the truck across the gulf to empty the tank are contributing factors.

The municipality says it sets up a temporary washroom at the nearby school whenever the one at the wharf is out of service, but it is also working on more long-term solutions, like replacing the septic tank with a low-flow toilet within the next year.

The solutions couldn't come soon enough for Dickson.

"Nobody's making moves," he said. "Tourists are trapped, they have nowhere to go."

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