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Nelson to install public washroom

The kiosk structure will be placed at the corner of Hall and Baker
A modular washroom unit similar to this one will be installed at the corner of Hall and Baker in early July.

Every public discussion about how to improve Nelson’s downtown always includes the need for a washroom.

Now it’s happening.

The city is installing a simple stainless steel kiosk known as the Portland Loo, designed and built in Portland. It will be delivered in the next few weeks as a single modular unit, to be installed by city public works staff at the northwest corner of Hall and Baker.

The wheelchair compatible washroom will contain one toilet, a baby change table, and a hand sanitizer station.

“The sink will be on the outside, to keep things moving through the washroom,” said the city’s Chris Gainham. “We only have one stall so we want to minimize the time people spend inside.”

The purchase cost is $140,000. Gainham said it will be up and running by the beginning of July.

He said the washroom and specifically the plumbing will be electrically heated and he said the unit is marketed as being useful down to minus 15 degrees. But he said the first winter will be an experiment.

The unit will be cleaned daily by city crews who already routinely clean public restrooms in the parks.

The Portland Loo website states that “with a cleaning hose, janitorial supplies stored in the mechanical closet, and protected with an anti-grafitti clear coat, the restroom is easy to maintain and can take a lot of abuse.”

The website also addresses security concerns.

“Louvers at the top and bottom of the wall create an interior environment that offers complete visual privacy, while remaining as connected with the outside as possible. The lower louvers are angled to provide law enforcement the opportunity to observe the number of users within the unit without compromising privacy.”

Gainham said there are now four other installations of Portland Loos in B.C. — two in Victoria, one in Nanaimo, and one to be installed in Smithers.

Gainham’s job is Manager of Municipal Services, a new position at city hall.


Bill Metcalfe

About the Author: Bill Metcalfe

I have lived in Nelson since 1994 and worked as a reporter at the Nelson Star since 2015.
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