Much ado about a loo: Critics slam $645,000 toilet in Vancouver
VANCOUVER -- A provincially funded public washroom being built in a Vancouver park at a price tag of $645,000 has critics saying something stinks.
The pre-fabricated “Portland Loo” toilet is being installed in Coopers’ Park, with money from a grant program created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. B.C.'s Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program gives provincial dollars to local governments for improvements.
“It’s beyond head scratching, it’s outrageous,” Liberal jobs critic Todd Stone said of the public toilet plan.
Stone told CTV News there’s no doubt a need for public washrooms, but questioned the timing as organizations like Science World, the PNE, and the Vancouver Aquarium are looking for money to make sure they can continue operating.
“$645,000, you could do a lot with that to support other organizations," he said.
Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne said roughly $100 million in funding has gone out to local governments, adding that it’s not up to the province to tell them what projects to fund.
"This is a priority for them, based on the dramatic increase in people accessing Vancouver parks," Osborne said.
No one from the Vancouver Park Board agreed to an interview Tuesday. In an email, a spokesperson said the cost of the toilet itself would be roughly $150,000, while the rest of the money would be used for installation, engineering, environmental soil assessments and building sanitary and water lines. The final cost could be less than estimated.
The Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation said more information is needed to determine if the money is being well spent. Kris Sims added that just because money is available to municipalities doesn’t mean they should always use it.
As for what Sims thinks of the $645,000 price tag?
"In typical times, people could build a couple of really nice houses for that cost.”