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Public toilets to be installed in Castlegar for winter

Three portable toilets accessible around the clock will be provided in Castlegar this winter.

It’s the result of an initiative spearheaded by the city’s integrated services collaborative, which identified it as “urgently needed.”

“There is a need in Castlegar for publicly accessible toilet facilities open 24 hours a day, especially during the colder months, for individuals who do not have access to such facilities,” co-ordinator Val Mayes wrote in a memo to city council.

Trowelex has offered to donate the rental of the three units from now until the end of April.

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City council agreed this week to cover the cost of pumping, which is $75 per visit. Although it’s not known how often that will have to happen, the city will cover up to $1,000.

While the city has other public washrooms, they aren’t open in the winter.

One of the toilets will probably be placed at Kinsmen Park and another near the recreation complex, while the location of the third hasn’t been finalized, but will probably be somewhere in the middle of the city.

“We did try this in the past,” mayor Maria McFaddin noted when council discussed the matter this week. “It hit some roadblocks and issues. This solves some of that, of who is taking care of them.”

Teams from various outreach services including the Community Harvest food bank and Way Out Shelter will take on the responsibility of checking and cleaning the units. The food bank will provide toilet paper.

The Selkirk College nursing program will take on the installation of sharps disposal containers and manage their collection and disposal.

The toilets are intended as a temporary solution, until plans can be made for a permanent structure or structures.

“I think this another Band-Aid,” councillor Cherryl MacLeod said. “Better than nothing, but it would be nice to have some place heated.”

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