The washrooms at the wharf are among the city washrooms closed during the winter. (File photo)

Weather in charge of Salmon Arm’s public potty plans

Council hears about complaints lodged last year over Blackburn Park closures

If you’re at Blackburn Park during spring break and you need to use a washroom, your relief will rest in Mother Nature’s hands.

During discussion of a two-year extension to the city’s contract with Salmon Arm Security for opening and closing washrooms around town, Coun. Debbie Cannon said she received about six emails after last year’s school district spring break. People were complaining about the washrooms at Blackburn Park being closed.

“People were just kind of having to use a tree if they could find one,” she told council’s Feb. 24 meeting.

Rob Niewenhiuzen, the city’s director of engineering and public works, explained the opening date is weather dependent.

He said facilities are not insulated so, although city staff try to open them as soon as possible, if there’s any chance of frost, or severe frost, they have to keep them closed.

“Or else we’ll spend a lot more money replacing all the plumbing in the building.”

Canon asked if the contract, which lists April 1 and Oct. 31 as the opening and closing dates, could include an option for assessing the weather and opening them earlier.

Niewenhuizen said staff have that option if weather allows, but the budget is based on those rough dates. If they’re opened too much earlier, the city would go over budget and budgets are tight.

“It does cause staff time to go clean and service them,” he explained.

Nonetheless, he said a budget amendment could be made.

Read more: Washrooms not equipped for winter

Read more: North Okanagan’s homeless-populated park to get porta potties, despite concerns

Cannon asked if the washrooms at Marine Park would be open for Rogers Hometown Hockey and Niewenhuizen said they will be, other arrangements have been made.

On another topic, Coun. Sylvia Lindgren asked if it’s considered whether companies are paying their staff a living wage when contracts are awarded.

Niewenhuizen said the city has no obligation to do that.

Lindgren said she thinks the city is doing really well for city employees, but she questions whether it is with contractors.

“That’s on my mind whenever one of these contracts comes up for renewal. It’s another opportunity for us to make sure we’re hiring or contracting out to companies who treat their employees well, like we treat our employees well, and that we are a leader in our community in that area.”

She said she realized she’s late bringing up the topic but would like to sit down with staff to explore the issue.

Coun. Tim Lavery said it would be council’s responsibility, not staff’s, to come up with a fair wage policy.

The washrooms included in the contract listed as opening and closing on April 1 and Oct. 31 are: Canoe Beach, Mosquito Park, Marine Park, Jackson Field House, Ross Street Plaza, Fletcher Park, Blackburn Park and Little Mountain Field House.

Ones listed to stay open all year are at the Salmon Arm Foreshore, McGuire Lake and Klahani Park.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

#Salmon ArmparksSalmon Arm council

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Chamber steps up for Sicamous businesses trying to stay open

Organization creates directory of changes businesses have made in response to COVID-19

Salmon Arm firefighters sound sirens in support of hospital staff

Fire chief hopes to have more emergency responders involved in upcoming parade

Salmon Arm opens respiratory clinic in response to COVID-19

Clinic will not be a walk-in centre, residents must call family doctor or nurse practioner first

Last-minute hiring means Salmon Arm’s emergency shelter can remain open

Salvation Army’s Lighthouse shelter to stay open beyond normal closing date of April 1

Salmon Arm’s paving, pothole patching programs to begin in May

Long hard winter takes toll on roads, street cleaning underway

First Nations, remote communities need special attention in pandemic, Freeland says

Health-care workers, seniors, Indigenous Peoples some of people most at risk, health officials say

Some April Fool’s Day jokes bring much-needed laughter; others tone deaf to COVID-19

Police are warning the public not to use the ongoing pandemic as a punchline

Super Beaver Task Force: April Fool’s Day joke lightens weight of COVID-19 uncertainty

Ducks Unlimited Canada enlists beavers’ help to protect wetlands in unconventional way

Solar panels installed at Summerland’s municipal hall

Power from energy project expected to provide five per cent of building’s power use

COVID-19: Okanagan College student pens petition for pass/fail grades

Optional pass/fail program would reduce stress, recognize students’ challenges faced in pandemic

Canada’s 75% wage subsidy is coming, but not for another six weeks: finance minister

Subsidy will cost Canada $71 billion, but push down cost of emergency benefit, Morneau said

South Okanagan piper to perform for livestreamed memorials

Penticton funeral home to show performances every Friday at 4:30 p.m.

Ebus suspends services in Alberta and B.C. in response to COVID-19

Bus company asking residents to stay safe at home

Gleaners give surplus produce, North Okanagan gratefully fed

Trailer full of goods scooped by community amid COVID-19

Most Read