The controversial washrooms in Kelowna’s City Park that were part of an $800,000 upgrade to the park four years ago.—Image: Capital News file

Update: Kelowna city council votes to pay for new big-ticket biffy

The city will spend $674,000 to replace the washrooms at popular Boyce-Gyro Beach Park

Update—Jan. 8 5:08 p.m.:

Kelowna city council has approved spending $674,000 to rebuild the washrooms in Boyce-Gyro Beach Park.

But one councillor is poo-pooing the plan. Coun. Charlie Hodge said he feels the price tag is just too high.

After hearing city staff explain the rationale for the move, and explain why the cost is as high as it is to build new washroom facilities, council voted to take the $350,000 it had already approved to renovate the existing, aging washrooms and add $324,000 more from two other projects that are not going ahead to pay for the work.

The projects are a new security pavilion at the Queensway Transit Exchange and dressing rooms for a proposed soccer facility in Mission Recreation Park. The soccer association behind the plan in the park has said it is looking to locate the facility elsewhere.

The new washroom building in Boyce-Gyro Beach Park will have have 11 urinals and toilets, as opposed to the existing four currently in place, and there will be showers for both men and women.

In making the case to council for rebuilding as opposed to renovating the existing 48-year-old structure, staff said other washroom facilities that the city has built were looked at for guidance—including the controversial washrooms in City Park.

Despite a public belief those washrooms cost $800,000, staff said the actual washroom building in City Park—part of a bigger landscaping project that used insurance settlement money the city received after fire destroyed the Pavilion Building that had stood on the site previously—only cost $525,000. The Boyce-Gyro Beach Park building will be bigger and provide more amenities.

But Hodge was not convinced.

“I’m looking at a total Taj Mahal (of toilets),” he said. “I have a hard time justifying that.”

Original story:

It’s not quite the $800,000 the City of Kelowna spent on new public washrooms and associated landscaping in City Park four years ago—but it’s close.

A proposal going to council Monday is asking for approval of a plan to replace the outdated public washrooms in Boyce-Gyro Beach Park in south Pandosy at a cost of $674,000.

The park’s washrooms, built in 1969 and renovated 20 years later, are reaching the end of their serviceable life, says city staff in a report going to council Monday. As a result, they are recommending the existing building be torn down and replaced.

“In order to construct a new washroom building the current budget would need to be increased to $674,000, based on a recently completed estimate of probable costs,” says the report.

Staff say the new washroom building would last 50 years, provide more value than refurbishing the existing building and would provide “a more contemporary appearance befitting one of Kelowna’s most popular and heavily used parks.” Originally, $350,000 was identified as the cost to renovate the existing washrooms.

The staff report says the proposed upgrades in the original plan included a new low-maintenance floor, wall and ceiling finishes, new water efficient sanitary fixtures and plumbing, high efficiency hand-dryers, safe sharps disposal, waste receptacles, new skylights, as well as some repairs to the masonry skin.

“The proposed upgrades are meant to provide a cleaner, brighter appearance to interior spaces and to replace aging fixtures. The renovations however, do not include replacing the roof, and do nothing to address the building’s aged construction and external appearance.”

And that’s why staff is now recommending rebuilding the washrooms all together.

Council will discuss the staff recommendation Monday at its first regular meeting of 2018.

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