January 11, 2018 10:27 pm

New washrooms at Kelowna park cost about as much as a typical house

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In a 5-1 vote, Kelowna city council has approved spending about $675,000 to replace the public washrooms at Boyce-Gyro Park on the lakefront.

The main washroom building was built 50 years ago and renovated 20 years later. They’re showing their age.

“We’ve got a lot of problems,” says Parks and Buildings Planning Manager Robert Parlane. “The drainage doesn’t work, there’s puddling around toilets and urinals. The whole place really needs a renovation.”

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But rather than renovate at a cost of about $350,000, the buildings will be torn down and new facilities built.

“When we looked at best value for taxpayers, with a rebuild you get 50 years plus. With a new building there’s much better facilities and much more easy to maintain,” says Parlane.

Charlie Hodge was the only councillor to vote against building new facilities, saying he felt renovating would be good enough.

“To me $675,000, I don’t care about the number of stalls, is outrageous. With all the things we need to spend money on, I didn’t see it as a priority.”

As Hodge points out, an average single-family home in Kelowna costs about the same as replacing the washrooms.

“It isn’t the Taj Mahal, it’s toilets,” says Hodge.

But Parlane says public washrooms are expensive to build.

“There’s a lot of fittings (toilets and urinals), a lot of plumbing, electrics, waterproof materials on the floor, tiling on the walls. They’re all expensive components and that’s what makes the unit costs so high.”

“It’s still in my mind excessive,” says Hodge. “I just don’t get the dollars. I don’t understand it and I don’t pretend to.”

Construction should start this fall with completion by the summer tourist season in 2019.

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