Victoria city council will decide this week if they’ll be putting money into upgrading the capital city’s public washrooms.
“More than half of the city’s park washroom facilities are over 50 years old and need significant improvement,” reads a report hitting council’s hands Thursday.
Upgrading the aging facilities comes with two timelines. Both the four or seven-year programs come with a price tag of up to $14 million.
“It proves, of course, that if you don’t spend on maintenance for any municipal structure, the bill will come home,” said John Treleaven with the Grumpy Taxpayers Association.
Treleaven doesn’t only like the proposal but says he’d like to see investments like these across the Capital Regional District.
“Coming out of COVID, we’re looking at public infrastructure differently,” said Treleaven. “Somewhat unexpectedly, washrooms are an issue of public health.”
The upgrades will account not just for functionality but also accessibility. In November 2022, architectural consultant HMCA published a 23-page audit on the city of Victoria’s public washroom accessibility.
The report found that of the 18 park washrooms identified in the city, “15 out of the 18 park washrooms assessed were rated 1 or 2 and require extensive to moderate upgrades to meet accessibility criteria.”
The previous iteration of Victoria’s city council had approved $860,00 for public washroom improvements as part of the 2022 Financial Plan.
“Two washrooms in Beacon Hill Park, at 2 Cook St. and 156 Nursery Rd., were previously prioritized for accessibility upgrades in 2022-23. These projects have been put on hold pending the outcome of the accessibility assessment, as the funding will be carry-forward to the 2023 Financial Plan,” reads the new proposal.
A City of Victoria spokesperson says the first budget discussion happens on Friday. On Thursday, council will cast their votes on the report.