Council approves self-cleaning washroom at Elora park
A new public washroom will be installed at Hoffer Park in Elora which can automatically clean and disinfect itself after each use.
Centre Wellington council voted 5-2 in favour of the autonomous washroom on Monday.
"This is the first of its kind," said Pat Newson, Centre Wellington's managing director of community services, during the council meeting.
Newson told CTV News the gender-neutral washroom will be supplied by the Quebec-based company Urben Blu, and feature heated floors and will be open year-round.
Andrew and Anne Quin often walk through Hoffer Park in the summer, and said they’re surprised it took so long for a public washroom to be installed.
"In the Gorge [nearby] all they have is a couple blue outhouses which are not the most attractive," said Andrew. "I think having a permanent facility here would be absolutely great."
The couple like the idea of a self-cleaning washroom, rather than traditional restroom that requires constant upkeep.
"Someone doesn’t have to go and clean it, it’s going to be clean all the time," remarked Andrew. "It’s the way of the future."
Council projects the total cost of the washroom will be $386,095. A government grant will cover $208,600, while the township plans on contributing $177,900 to complete the project.
Stephen Kitras was one of the members of council members who voted against the motion. He said the cost of installing one self-cleaning bathroom is too expensive and the money could be better utilized elsewhere.
"To spend that much money on a single [bathroom] is just outrageous," Kitras said in an interview with CTV News. "With the money that we’re putting forward, we could easily get more bathrooms."
Kitras believes a traditional facility with both a men’s and women’s washroom can be installed for a cheaper price, instead of one single, gender-neutral washroom. He added that a self-cleaning washroom could lead to higher maintenance costs.
"It’s like when you go through an automatic carwash, it’s not always perfect," Kitras said. "I think it will eventually wear out and it will require maintenance."
Despite voting against the self-cleaning facility, Kitras said he wasn’t opposed to adding a washroom nearby and would have preferred building an addition to the Centre Wellington township office located beside the park.
Pat Newson said the township hopes to have the self-cleaning washroom opened to the public by October, but if delays push instillation into the winter months, it may not be completed until March 2023.