Regina council considers pilot project for seasonal washroom downtown

The City of Regina is set to explore a pilot project that could mean badly needed relief for some.

A report to be presented to council on Thursday says the city should explore a pilot project to bring another publicly accessible washroom to the downtown area. 

The pilot project would see a temporary, seasonal washroom facility installed in the downtown plaza between May and September of 2020. The city's administration proposed using $20,000 from the 2020 budget to fund the pilot.

What we're trying to gauge is how much usage a third public washroom downtown would get.  - Janine Daradich, Regina's planning and parnership manager

Administration would then report the results from the pilot project back to council before looking into a permanent facility.

Of the city's 50 or more public washrooms only two are accessible downtown — one in city hall and one at the Regina Public Library Branch at the corner of Lorne Street and 12 Ave. 

CBC

While no formal requests have been made for a new washroom facility in the downtown area since 2012, city administration acknowledged activity in that area has increased over the last decade. 

"What we're trying to gauge is how much usage a third public washroom downtown would get," said Janine Daradich, the city's planning and partnership manager . 

She says administration would also see what additional maintenance and security a third bathroom might need before deciding to make it a permanent facility.

Depending on its design and functionality, a new, permanent washroom facility in the downtown area would cost between $150,000 and $750,000.

Daradich says a location has not been selected, but said internal departments and external partners in the downtown would be consulted prior to making a decision about location.

18 municipalities consulted

The city's administration team reached out 18 municipalities to learn about some of the challenges. Ten different respondents contributed to the report, with multiple publicly accessible washrooms in their downtowns.

"They're all very different," Daradich said, adding none of the responses she received suggested anything out of the ordinary. 

Nine of the 10 respondents reported problems with illicit activities, including vandalism, squatting, prostitution and drug sales.

Daradich  says each municipality deals with the issues they face differently. Some have working relationships with local police, others provide security, while others don't see enough illicit behaviour to warrant extra protection. 

City council is expected to be discussed at Thursday's community and protective services committee and then forwarded to city council to vote on the matter on Oct. 28.