KAWARTHA LAKES-As Joann Patterson looked out the window of her business, The Little Pie Shack on Monday she saw a man urinating in public. “This occurs quite often.” Patterson told kawartha 411. “People try the washroom door and find it locked.”
The door is locked because the public washroom, which is located on Francis Street, has been closed. The facilities needed some repair and there were concerns about the cost of maintaining the washroom. Patterson says she’s been told the repairs would cost $150,000. “Maybe they should put it out there for other bidders, I can’t see it costing that much.”
Patterson says she and several other business owners have brought the issue to the attention of the City but to no avail. “I have called the city along with several other people and it’s the same answer. They have no money in the budget to fix them.”
The City says “Council did not approve a budget for refurbishment in the 2018 budget, so the project is not proceeding.” Cheri Davidson, Manager of Communications told Kawartha 411. “We are working to mitigate any damage or public nuisance taking place at the property.”
The Downtown Revitalization Committee had made the repair of the downtown washrooms a high priority in their Action Plan and had hoped to have it done by summer 2017. The plan for the washroom was presented to council but was not approved.
The lack of public washrooms downtown Fenelon Falls has meant local businesses have become the go to for the public. “I understand people have to go to the washroom” Patterson explained. “They go to the public washroom in town and find them closed. What are they suppose to do? The Kawartha Store has become the public washroom in town which isn’t fair to Trish and her staff.”
Trish Dougherty owns the Kawartha Store in Fenelon Falls. “I am very upset about it,” Dougherty said. “I think it gives a poor picture of our town. And yes The Kawartha Store has become the unofficial public washroom.”
To make matters worse the sign is still up indicating there are public washrooms at the building. “The worst part is the Washroom Signs are still up, so people all head to that building and then there’s no washroom when they get there.” Dougherty says.
With an influx of tourists in the summer both women worry seeing more of this kind of behaviour. “Get the washrooms up and working so people have somewhere to go” Patterson exclaims.
The building has been deemed surplus. A report is coming to council in May about the possible sale of the property.