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Toilet talk: LRT public washroom question raised at Calgary city council

Calgary Transit is aware there may be a need for public washrooms at LRT stations around the city, but there’s a cost of between $10 to $15 per use.

In Question Period during Monday’s Calgary city council meeting, Coun. George Chahal raised the issue, citing a group of city seniors that have put together a petition asking for more public facilities along the LRT routes.

Chahal also referenced a project for a Tuscany LRT station washroom, a pilot project for a porta-potty at park in his ward, and a washroom at the Saddletowne LRT station that’s used by Calgary Transit operators.

Doug Morgan, Director of Calgary Transit, said the upfront capital cost for the Tuscany automated public toilet was $400,000 – primarily to build the appropriate pad and connect it to sewer, water and power.  Annual maintenance costs are between $30,000 to $50,000 and the toilet is used between 10 and 15 times a day, Morgan said.

“The reason and the rationale for the Tuscany location is just there’s not a lot of facilities around the Tuscany station – public washrooms or private establishments that customers could use,” Morgan said.

“So certainly we’re aware of the needs, especially within aging populations, of having facilities close.”

Morgan said they’re cognizant of potential security they could provide and the operating costs, especially at $10 to $15 per use.

“And given our focus on providing good service, that’s not a service we’ve invested in quite yet,” Morgan said.

Partnerships for public washrooms?

Chahal asked if there are ways to engage the private sector to help open up services like this at Calgary Transit LRT stations.

Morgan said they’re regularly engaged with the private sector.

“We’re always in contact with the private sector, focusing a lot of times on our staff to make sure that at points where they might need facilities, they have access to it,” Morgan said.

“So certainly we can open that to discussion, maybe a partnership with the private sector to offer those facilities for transit customers.”

In Edmonton, eight of their LRT stations have accessible public washrooms.