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Tomkins Park potty posing problems along 17 Ave SW: Woolley

To pee, or not to pee – at the Tomkins Park public toilet.

That was the question in Calgary city council Monday. It was posed during question period by Coun. Evan Woolley, who said he’s heard there’s been increasing concern over its use in the area and some of the social disorder problems that have been popping up.

He said in the past it’s served an important purpose in the area, providing a rest stop for people who are out and about in the area, or using the park.

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Woolley asked at what point does the benefit outweigh the potential negative impact in the area.

“It just doesn’t feel like it’s working right now,” he said.

In the past there have been concerns over people sleeping in the toilets in frigid weather during the winter. It’s a popular stop for patrons in the area that have partaken in a few beverages at one of the drinking establishments in the area.

Woolley asked about potential options for the toilet, including operating and decommissioning costs.

Cost of Tomkins Park toilet options

City administration said the toilet, located at 17 Avenue and 8 Street SW, costs between $40,000 and $50,000 annually to operating. They added that it would cost $5,000 annually to keep it closed and $30,000 to decommission it.

The toilet was first opened in 2008 as a part of a pilot project and the city’s public toilet strategy at the time. It was self-cleaning and imposed a time limit on users, giving a warning when it reached a certain time limit.

Other public toilets operating in the East Village are closed unless there’s a public event in the area.

Administration said they’d be assessing how the Tomkins Park toilet fit with other public toilets in Calgary and how other systems are operated around the world.