Surveys show portable toilets have poo-tential in Exshaw.
Out of 217 questionnaires the MD of Bighorn sent out for feedback on a porta-potty pilot program, 23 people responded and all but three were in favour of having at least one public washroom in the community to provide relief to trail users and travellers.
“It beat watching them go pee on the berm or behind parked cars,” said one respondent. “Lots of non-bikers used it too … couriers, travelers, hikers [and] even MD staff.
“Facilities like this make life much easier and less stressful for locals and for visitors,” said another respondent, adding they wished to see permanent public washrooms in the future.
The MD reported the porta-potty placed near the Exshaw Legion was used and appears to be in a good location. Another porta-potty near the MD operations shop wasn’t used as much.
Municipal administration is planning on bringing a recommendation to council in February for one portable toilet to be placed near the Exshaw Legion in 2024, which could be reviewed again at the end of the year.
As part of the program, the MD provided two porta-potties, which were open seasonally from May 1 to Sept. 30. The maintenance and cleaning levels are also being assessed as part of the trial program.
In its survey, the MD asked for feedback on proposed locations and welcomed feedback on other options.
Three people were in favour of a porta-potty near the Legion and one near the north end of Fortress Mountain Drive, six people were in favour of a porta-potty near the Legion and one near the end of Mount Kidd Crescent, eight people were in favour of only placing one portable toilet near the Exshaw Legion and three people wanted none.
Some respondents favoured more than one option and some didn’t select one of the provided options but submitted comments.
Others brought up potential conflict of the porta-potty at the north end of Fortress Mountain Drive with future plans for East Exshaw Mountain Gateway, and also proposed other locations.
A staff report noted comments regarding Exshaw Mountain Gateway were relevant but it’s not yet clear whether the location would be affected in 2024. The development passed third reading of council in July 2023 and is expected to add between 32-57 lots to the hamlet when completed.
Coun. Jen Smith said she supported the portable toilet program continuing but was surprised there were no suggestions for a porta-potty near the popular South Exshaw trailhead.
“That’s where I thought we would get some feedback to have one, so I’m a little surprised when I read these that that wasn’t in there, but I’m fully in support of just having the one and looking at it again and getting feedback,” she said.
Coun. Steve Fitzmorris said he gathered from responses that there may be a need to explore permanent washroom facilities, in addition to porta-potties.
“I’m agreeing with what’s coming through this but I’m thinking there’s another layer on top of this to be addressed in the future with bathrooms in a park or beach area, wherever it needs to be, to be more of a permanent-type bathroom as opposed to just this portable program,” he said.
Most of all, he said it was clear from feedback that respondents don’t want porta-potties in residential areas.
The cost for the MD to provide one portable toilet for five months is estimated at $4,300 and there is $8,500 in the 2024 budget for the service.
By Jessica Lee, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Original Published on Feb 07, 2024 at 14:58