Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante is suspending construction on the self-cleaning public toilet at Place Sun-Yat-Sen, in Montreal’s Chinatown district.
“Obviously now there’s no consensus and to be honest, I’m not in a place where I want to impose something like that,” said Plante.
“It could be really beneficial to the Chinese quarter because there’s a lot of tourists, but since there’s no consensus, we’re not going to fight and impose it.”
Plante admitted a lot of tension was created over the bathroom and said before anything more is done, officials will meet with members of the Chinese community.
“We will decide together, we will talk with them,” she said.
“If there’s a consensus that nobody wants it and it’s not a good idea, for now we’re going to stop the work, have the talk and we’ll decide and if it’s a no, it’s a no.”
Tuesday morning, members of the Chinese community gathered to protest the installation.
“Installing a public toilet in this Sun Yet Sen Park is considered almost like an insult to the Chinese population,” Bryant Chang, CAM vice-president, told Global News earlier this month.
“Sun Yat Sen is the founding father of modern China.”
The group insists the city never consulted the community about the project.
“If there’s a need, I think we could find a good spot, other than this spot,” argued Bill Wong, secretary of the Sun Yat Sen Park Foundation.
Nevertheless, a city spokesperson told Global News, that “the borough of Ville-Marie meets regularly with representatives of Chinatown regarding the urban development of the area and will continue to do so in order to enhance the neighbourhood.”
The City of Montreal plans to install several self-cleaning toilets in the downtown core.
The first was unveiled Tuesday near Papineau Metro, on the corner of Sainte-Catherine Street Est and Cartier Street.
WATCH BELOW: Plan to install public bathroom in Chinatown park
Two other toilets will be put up — one at Place Émilie-Gamelin, on the corner of Sainte-Catherine Street Est and Berri Street and the other in Montreal’s Old Port, on de la Commune Street and Saint-Gabriel Street.
There will also be one set up in the chalet of Parc Walter-Stewart, in Montreal’s east end.
The city states it has plans to install 12 units across the territory, and it will evaluate if more are added later on.
How does it work?
The toilets will clean themselves after each use to ensure “a place that is always clean.”
A cleaning contraption and automated broom will disinfect the toilet bowl and floor.
In addition, each unit will be visited at least once a day to do any additional cleaning, as well as refill the toilet paper and hand soaps.
The city explains several security measures are in place, including having a sliding door that can open even in event of power failure and a quick-open button on the floor in case of emergency.
There are also weight sensors under the floor to prevent the doors from closing and leaving a person trapped inside during a cleaning cycle.
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