‘Nowhere to go’ – North Van residents call for toilets at Phibbs Exchange

Posted in: ,

Jul 07, 2022 – Brent Richter/North Shore News

When the province debuted its $30-million plans for a modernized Phibbs Exchange last month, many North Shore residents and commuters noted a conspicuous absence in the list of amenities: public washrooms.

In a statement, TransLink spokesman Dan Mountain said more public washrooms are coming to transit facilities in the transit authority’s 2022 investment plan – but there are only six coming across the system.

“The main barrier to installing more washrooms in the past has been making sure that washrooms are safe and well maintained, which requires significant annual operating funding for security and maintenance. It’s not as simple as building and opening them,” he said.

Each new washroom is expected to cost $1 million up front, plus $300,000 annually for maintenance and security.

“TransLink has been working with the Mayors’ Council, our board of directors, and all levels of government to get sufficient funding in place to appropriately ensure washrooms are safe and well maintained for customers,” Mountain said.

Where those six new washrooms will be installed hasn’t been decided yet, but locations will be picked based on how busy they are, whether the sites can accommodate the infrastructure, the length of the trips that passengers are making through them, and how far they are from other public washrooms, Mountain said.

North Vancouver-Lonsdale MLA and transit booster Bowinn Ma said the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure’s designs for the site include plumbing connections.

“I completely understand why people would like to see public restrooms at Phibbs Exchange,” she said. “Whether they’ll be hooked up and made available to the public or just for employee use will be for TransLink to consider.”

Read the full article at nsnews.com.

Update from MLA Ma:
“I agree that washrooms are very important! We will indeed be providing the utility connections required for washrooms, but TransLink will need to decide whether they will hook these up for public washrooms or not. I’ve spoken with the TransLink CEO directly about how important public washrooms would be at Phibbs Exchange and he has committed to ensuring that this location is evaluated as part of their 2022 Investment Plan commitment to implement six washrooms on the network.”