The temporary public washroom located between 531 & 521 1st Avenue will soon be removed to begin construction on the permanent downtown public washroom facility. (Cole Schisler photo)

The temporary public washroom located between 531 & 521 1st Avenue will soon be removed to begin construction on the permanent downtown public washroom facility. (Cole Schisler photo)

Construction on downtown public washroom to begin ‘before Christmas’

Council and staff discussed the possibility of a contest to determine the colour of the washroom

Ladysmith Town Council fleshed out details for the construction of the Downtown Public Washroom facility between 531 & 521 1st Avenue.

Council voted in favour of granting a development permit for the project. Director of Infrastructure Services, Geoff Goodall, said that construction will begin ‘before Christmas’, and will be completed in early 2021.

The laneway between 531 & 521 1st Avenue, and part of the laneway between 431 & 421 1st Avenue will be closed during construction of the public washroom. The Town will notify the public of the road closures in coming weeks.

Once construction on the project commences, the temporary public washroom will be removed.

RELATED: Downtown Public Washroom project ‘shovel ready’ thanks to FortisBC community grant

Renderings of project show the washroom with a neutral exterior colour. The Ladysmith Community Planning Advisory Committee recommended that a more vibrant colour scheme be incorporated into the design to accent the streetscape. Town staff concurred with the recommendation.

Council considered a contest to decide to colour of the washroom; however, several councillors discussed the pitfalls of holding a public contest during the holiday season and a public health crisis.

“A contest could be fun, but it could also be a mess,” councillor Marsh Stevens said.

Director of Development Services Jake Belobaba said that ultimately, Council can determine the exterior colour of the washroom.

“Staff thought [a contest] would be an opportunity where the colour could be in a fun way decided by members in the community who might have some great ideas,” he said.

“If council does not want to do a contest, essentially the colour can just be picked by council.”

Mayor Aaron Stone expressed concern that adding a contest element to the project might delay the timeline of the project. He did encourage staff to work with project stakeholders to see if a contest was feasible.

RELATED: Businesses mixed on downtown temporary washroom

“I think it’s an unnecessary complication, and we could make those decisions on colour palettes that would be presented to council if that’s what we were going to do with the contest,” Stone said.

Stone said that his priority for the project is that the washroom is completed, and open to the public, by at least spring 2021.

Councillor Rob Johnson questioned if there were other ways to engage public opinion on the washroom colour that did not include a contest. Belobaba said that staff could liaise with community stakeholders to seek feedback on a colour. Belobaba noted that the method of determining the colour is ‘fairly open’.

Councillor Trisha McKay said that a contest on colour would be better served with a larger building. She suggested keeping things as simple as possible when it comes to determining the exterior colour of the washroom.

Ultimately, council passed a motion that directed Town staff to work with project stakeholders to determine the exterior colour.

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