After a long, cold winter, a decision on opening washrooms in the city’s parks will be welcomed, particularly by those people who don’t have homes.
Complaints have been expressed by homeless people and some of their advocates about the lack of facilities in town due to so many store washrooms being closed because of COVID-19.
Although the city’s Ross Street Plaza washroom has been open throughout the winter because it is insulated and heated, other city washrooms have been closed in wait for warmer temperatures. If the water pipes were to freeze at night, staff say the damage would likely be expensive and could mean an extended closure.
But the temperatures are warming up. Consequently the washrooms at Marine Park, Blackburn Park and Fletcher Park will open Thursday, April 9. Their hours will be from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
Rob Niewenhuizen, the city’s director of public works and engineering, said in the wake of COVID-19, precautions will be taken for the safety of city staff who are cleaning the facilities, but the washrooms will still be cleaned just once a day unless circumstances dictate an additional cleaning.