Woodenhead Park. (File Photo)

Woodenhead Park. (File Photo)

Washroom facility to be constructed at Woodenhead Park in Revelstoke

City Council approved the construction of the facility on Aug. 22

A washroom facility is set to be constructed at Woodenhead Park in Revelstoke.

The washroom project was conceived in 2021 when there was high demand for a washroom facility in that area of town, and because of the COVID-19 pandemic, travellers and residents were unable to use the facilities in the surrounding businesses.

City staff added that, at that time, the public was concerned about people who were using the park and the area underneath the nearby bridge for their ‘needs’ within public view.

According to City staff, the project is ‘essentially entirely grant-funded’, and the contract was awarded to Jordan Cochrane Construction in the amount of roughly $610,000.

City staff estimate that it would cost $150,000 annually to clean and service the washroom if it were to be open 24/7 for the full year, $100,000 to have the washroom open and maintained from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily for the full year, and $75,000 to operate the washroom from 6 a.m. to 12 a.m. in the Summer months alone.

READ MORE: Permanent washrooms coming to Woodenhead Park in Revelstoke

These operational costs could potentially be covered by Municipal and Regional District Tax (MRDT) and Resort Municipality Initiative (RMI) funds, but staff are still waiting on the province’s approval.

“Using RMI funds will result in tourism dollars being used to pay for a visitor service instead of the taxpayer,” said City staff in a report to council.

At the council meeting on Aug. 22, a drawn-out discussion on the washrooms was initiated. Councillors were concerned about the operating cost of the washrooms, as well as whether or not the washrooms would even be needed given the bathrooms situated at businesses surrounding the park.

“I don’t think it’s financially prudent spending on behalf of the taxpayers,” said Coun. Tim Stapenhurst.

Coun. Lee Devlin raised the point that the City cannot rely on the washrooms located in surrounding businesses. “Those aren’t ours,” said Coun. Devlin. “They belong to the businesses. Those businesses pay us taxes. I have worked in a gas station for many years and I can assure you that there is not a single employee of a single gas station that wants people to come in and just use the washroom.”

Steve Black, Director of Engineering for the City, informed the council that travellers are still using Woodenhead Park as a makeshift washroom without a public toilet in sight.

“That is a significant issue as a resort community and from a public health perspective,” added Black.

The project will also include a water refill station visitor information signage which will provide visitors with information about Revelstoke and places to visit.

Council voted in favour of the motion, though Coun. Stapenhurst and Coun. Tim Palmer voted against the construction of the washroom.

The financial impacts that the operational costs will have on the City’s budget will be discussed before the facility is opened.

The project is projected to be completed by Mar. 31, 2024.

READ MORE: One dead, two injured in Highway 1 crash west of Revelstoke


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