A city staff report says 52 vandalism incidents in 2020 has cost the City of Vernon an additional $42,000 in cleanup costs of the downtown transit terminal bathrooms. (City of Vernon)

A city staff report says 52 vandalism incidents in 2020 has cost the City of Vernon an additional $42,000 in cleanup costs of the downtown transit terminal bathrooms. (City of Vernon)

UPDATE: Vernon washrooms hours cut following $42K in vandalism

After 52 incidents of vandalism and 85 bylaw visits, council agrees to close two of three overnight

Vernon’s downtown public bathrooms were vandalized 52 times last year costing the city more than $42,000 in cleanup and bylaw was called 85 times to deal with people misusing the stalls.

In response, the city is adjusting the hours of the two transit terminal toilets from 24-hour operation to 7-10 p.m. Meanwhile, the public washrooms on 35th Street and 30th Avenue will remain open 24-hours a day.

From clogged toilets, vandalism, broken glass pipes, needles and blood, operations staff have recorded all incidents in a vandalism logsheet, noting costs totalled $42,085.12 — an expense on top of the estimated $90,594 annual costs, complete with the $51,738 cleaning contracted.

“It’s like with children, if you abuse it you lose it,” Coun. Dalvir Nahal said.

The washrooms were installed and kept open overnight to give people a place to do their business.

“Businesses were complaining that people were defecating in alleys and doorways and we recognize this is the humane thing to do,” Coun. Kelly Fehr said. But the social advocate says it is inhumane to close them overnight, and he plead with council to keep them open and increase security patrols and janitorial services.

But some businesses have reported to council that the washrooms are not being used as they are still finding surprises on their doorsteps.

“We have to draw the line somewhere and I’m ready to draw it,” Coun. Kelly Fehr said.

Yet, Coun. Brian Quiring said issues behind his downtown business have been alleviated since the installation of the washrooms.

Currently, the washrooms are cleaned five times between 8-8 p.m., seven days a week, but the staff report notes most vandalism incidents occur sometime after the last security check at 10 p.m. and the first of the morning around 7 a.m.

Sex, drug use, vandalism, overnight stays and people barricading themselves inside are among the reasons Bylaw Services responded to the downtown washroom 85 times last year.

The Downtown Vernon Association says it too has received several complaints about the improper or illegal use and cleanliness of the washrooms. The DVA maintains that safe, clean and accessible public toilets are an important amenity for a wide variety of reasons.

“These bathrooms are for everyone to use and they’re being misused,” Coun. Nahal said. “Taxpayers can’t use them the odd time they need to.”

Now, more than ever, finding a facility to use is increasingly difficult, Quiring also pointed out.

But the vandalism taking place is too much, therefore all councillors, except Fehr, voted to close two overnight, and get a report back from staff in June and October.

“It’s beyond me why people do this, but they do,” Cumming said. “It’s a common practice and it’s most often unrelated to people who might want to use the facility. Like the rail trail one.”

READ MORE: New loo installed downtown Vernon

READ MORE: Okanagan Rail Trail washrooms vandalized


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CrimeHomelessnessMunicipal Government

 

A city staff report says 52 vandalism incidents in 2020 has cost the City of Vernon an additional $42,000 in cleanup costs of the downtown transit terminal bathrooms. (City of Vernon)

A city staff report says 52 vandalism incidents in 2020 has cost the City of Vernon an additional $42,000 in cleanup costs of the downtown transit terminal bathrooms. (City of Vernon)

Just Posted

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

(Black Press file photo)
EDITORIAL: Curtailing attempts at scams

The true total of losses from all scams and frauds could be much higher than the figures on file

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

Osoyoos chef Murray McDonald was ecstatic upon realizing he scored the $1 million guaranteed prize in the June 2, 2021 Lotto 6/49 draw. (Contributed)
Osoyoos chef ecstatic after bagging $1 million Lotto 6/49 win

Chef Murray McDonald was at home and ready to doze off to sleep when he got a text from his wife

People at the beach in front of Discovery Bay Resort on Tuesday, July 14. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Heat wave forecast for Okanagan-Shuswap

Temperatures are forecast to hit record breaking highs this week

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Photograph By MICHAEL POTESTIO.KTW
Former Kamloops security gaurd wants job back after kicking incident caught on video

Rick Eldridge quit when a video surfaced of him kicking a man outside a facility for homeless

People participated in a walk to honour the 215 children found at a former Kamloops residential school, as well as residential school survivors. (Twila Amato/Black Press Media)
Kelowna marks National Indigenous Peoples’ Day with walk to remember Kamloops 215

“Let’s speak the truth and deal with the truth, and heal.”

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

A home on Cameo Drive sustained major damage due to an early morning fire Monday, June 21. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
UPDATE: Fire sparked during Vernon home renovation

Heavy black smoke from Cameo Drive home, no one inside

The new Civic Memorial Park will incorporate pieces of the 80-year-old arena it replaces. (Artists rendering)
Pieces of Civic Arena reclaimed for new Vernon park

City centre space to incorporate wood from the historic arena

Most Read