West End: Nelson Park potty coming this summer

Request for public toilet made six years ago

Visitors to Nelson Park are going to have to hold it a little longer.

The wheelchair-accessible self-cleaning bathroom slated for the park near St. Pauls Hospital will be installed sometime this summer, according to park board vice-chair Aaron Jasper, who Tuesday morning consulted the manager of the boards street furniture program on the timeline.

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Jasper believes the bathroom from France has been in Vancouver for a couple of months. Its not like these guys are sitting around twiddling thumbs, he said when asked why the installation couldnt happen sooner for a park thats been without public toilets for six years.

Spencer Chandra Herbert, MLA for Vancouver-West End, wrote Malcolm Bromley, general manager of the park board, last month requesting an update on installation of the new washroom in the park.

It seems every year I bring them up theres another excuse of why they havent happened, Herbert said on the phone Monday afternoon. I first started talking about them in 2006 or 07. What I want to know is why the insane delay? Its the summer, weve got the farmers market out there every weekend and its a busy park.

Residents of the West End including Jasper have lobbied for a replacement bathroom in Nelson Park since the planning stages for the parks renovation in 2006.

The fieldhouse and its washrooms were demolished in 2007 as part of the redevelopment, which today includes a community garden, off-leash dog area and childrens playground. Neighbours were concerned about drug dealing in the old washrooms and replacement bathrooms werent included in capital budgets.

Herbert says the community was promised action on the washrooms in 2008.

In 2011, Jasper said a washroom would be installed at little cost by the international company CBS/JCDecaux, which would supply it in exchange for advertising in two locations outside of the park.

The park board invited the public to an information session about the washroom in October 2011.

By July 2012, no washroom was in place. Jasper said then that the only washroom available was not wheelchair-accessible so the board ordered a wheelchair-accessible model from the manufacturer in France. That washroom had to be constructed from scratch. Jasper learned last July that when the park was plumbed for a washroom during its redesign in 2007 only a sewage line was installed and city engineering requires separate storm water drains and sewage lines. Now the washroom will be placed near where the fieldhouse once stood.

crossi@vancourier.com

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