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Waterloo unveils fully accessible, self-cleaning washroom

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The City of Waterloo unveiled a new self-cleaning and fully accessible washroom on Friday.

The facility can be found near King Street and William Street in Uptown Waterloo.

“We got lots of comments from the community that there is a lack of washroom availability in the uptown area,” explained project manager Swati Vekariya.

There are self-cleaning features, such as an anti-graffiti coating and the ability to autonomously wash the toilet and clean the floors between users.

Waterloo's new fully accessible washroom during its self-clean cycle. (May 24, 2024)

The washroom also comes with a wide range of accessibility considerations.

Detectors can guide people to the washroom’s entrance where they’ll find a tactile map of the washroom, including braille translations.

The tactile map on Waterloo's new fully accessible washroom. (May 24, 2024)

It also has an adult change table and emergency button.

“You feel like they thought of people when they put this together,” said Richard Mills, who lives nearby.

Local accessibility groups are applauding the new structure, saying it’s a move in the right direction.

“There are a lot of times where going to the washroom is one of the hardest things,” Alyssa Clelland, a member of the Grand River Accessibility Advisory Committee, said. “I don’t even drink at venues because I don’t really want to have to go to the washroom.”

The new fully accessible washroom in Uptown Waterloo on May 24, 2024.

“There definitely aren’t enough accessible washroom locations in the area,” added Edward Faruzel, executive director of KW Accessibility. “Anything we can do like that to make the world more accessible.”

There are also other safety measures. If someone is inside the washroom for more than 20 minutes, city crews will receive a notification and someone will be dispatched to check on their wellbeing.

The washroom comes at a $450,000 price tag, but city officials said $262,000 was covered by a federal grant.

The washroom will be open seven days a week from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m.

The project, also known as the Uptown LOO, was originally slated to open in the spring of 2023.

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