Victoria residents say city’s public toilets are failing our private needs


WATCH: It’s a topic we don’t often talk about, but today happens to be World Toilet Day. It’s a time to highlight the lack of access around the world to safe sanitation, and its not just in developing countries. Kori Sidaway reports.

In our day-to-day, we don’t talk about the business of doing our business. But when you gotta go, you gotta go!

“We’re actually looking for one right now!” said one tourist in Victoria on Monday.

And on World Toilet Day, many in Victoria say the city’s public toilets are failing our private needs.

“They need to do like New Zealand where they open everything, in pubs and stores can be open to everyone!” said one Victoria local.

“Especially because we’re not from the city, it’s not like we have a home to go back to,” said one visitor.

“If I have to go to the bathroom and there’s not a place nearby, I’ll go home, and there goes my business,” shrugged another Victoria resident.

“There’s the one on Pandora that only guys can pee in. If you’re gonna make washrooms on the street, make them accessible to everyone,” said one female local.

There are 22 public city-funded washrooms in Victoria. Six are in the downtown core, only a total of three are available around the clock including a urinal only available to able-bodied men, something Victoria’s Disability Resource Center says obviously excludes more than 50 per cent of the population.

“What exactly you define as public and what kind of people in the public, you design your space for reflects what you value and what you’re willing to pay attention to,” said Colin Mooney who studied washroom accessibility in Greater Victoria for the city’s disability centre.

The result? What’s public, really isn’t public after all.

“I think we need to look at public bathrooms as something that allows us to use our cities, and we don’t have access to that infrastructure, we can’t fully use our cities,” said journalist and author of “No Place To Go” Lezlie Lowe.

The good news is some at city hall are listening.

“Access to washrooms is something council needs to consider because it’s a need for all our citizens and all our visitors,” said Victoria Councillor Charlayne Thorton Joe.

“We could use some washrooms, and that’s something the city is looking at it, and I’ve asked for it to be included in this year’s budget.”

And while it may be a crappy subject, we’ll know in the coming weeks if this will be a priority for Victoria’s new council.

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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