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A single public toilet with a $645,000 price tag is causing quite the stink with some Vancouver residents.
The toilet will be placed in the city’s Cooper’s Park and is funded by the Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program, which provides $100 million in funding for similar projects, reports said. The program was created in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s beyond head-scratching, it’s outrageous,” said Liberal jobs critic Todd Stone, according to Canada’s Global News. “Why was spending over half a million dollars on a toilet more important than grants for struggling performing arts venues that are barely hanging on?”
Built by a Portland, Oregon-based company, the washroom costs $150,000, according to the Vancouver park board, which oversees Cooper’s Park. The company says its toilets are designed to prevent problems commonly experienced with public toilets
“The sleek and modern kiosk discourages crime with graffiti-proof wall panels and open grating,” the company says on its website.
The rest of the money will go toward building the services and infrastructure in the area needed for the loo to operate — including structural pad installation and landscaping, officials said.
Ken Sem, who is planning to run against Mayor Kennedy Stewart in the 2022 election, wondered how a single toilet could cost taxpayers more than a half-a-million dollars.
“You could build a laneway house for less money. It’s crazy,” he said, according to the Vancouver Sun.
John Irwin, a Vancouver Park Board commissioner, argued the work will provide jobs for people.
“It will create work for local people and services for local people. So yes, the sticker price for the toilet is high but … it’s like a tank of toilets, it’s virtually indestructible,” he told Global News.
The toilet is expected to be installed by the fall, reports said.