Technical glitch makes self-cleaning public toilet near Papineau inaccessible

Click to play video: 'Not all of Montreal’s new self-cleaning bathrooms accessible' Not all of Montreal’s new self-cleaning bathrooms accessible
Mon, Jul 30: Accessibility advocates are sounding the alarm over some of the city's new self-cleaning bathrooms. They say the doors won't close if weight limits are exceeded. As Global's Brayden Jagger Haines explains, it can be problematic for those who use motorized wheelchairs – Jul 30, 2018

The doors on the new self-cleaning toilet next to the Papineau metro station will not close if it detects a weight of 660 lbs.

A scale in the bathroom’s floor will stop the automatic doors for security reasons. On average, an electric wheel chair weighs 350 lbs without the user.

Electric wheelchair user and executive manager of Regroupement activistes pour l’inclusion Quebec (RAPLIQ) Linda Gauthier says a wheel chair and their user can easily weigh 500lbs if not more.

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This has resulted in some electric wheelchair users being unable to use the new public washrooms.

A sensor in the bathroom’s floor is malfunctioning, said city spokesperson Philippe Sabourin.

READ MORE:Montreal Mayor suspending plans to install self-cleaning toilet in Chinatown

Gauthier was excited about the city’s project when it was launched in May 2018.

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She says there are bars in the city that are accessible, but wheelchair users cannot use the washrooms because they are inaccessible.

She is frustrated with the news concerning the Papineau washroom.

Sabourin says the city will fix the sensor issue.

“It’s pretty new equipment, so it’s normal for the first days we have to adjust and calibrate the sensor,” Sabourin said.

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No date is yet known for when the sensor will be fixed.

The city says the issue only concerns the Papineau metro facility. The three other high-tech washrooms are not affected by the technical glitch.

Gauthier says that is an issue that needs to be changed. She has sent a letter addressed to the mayor to discuss the issue and to have the weight capacity raised.

Sabourin said the city will look into the matter, but does not plan on changing the limit.

“660 pounds is enough to guarantee the security of the users, so we won’t change that limit.”

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A $3-million city project will see a total of 12 of these high-tech washrooms installed around the city.

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