The Pacific Rim National Park will be flush with parking lot closures this winter as the bathrooms at Incinerator Rock, Long Beach and Wick Beach are being demolished and replaced.
The work kicked off last week and is expected to be finished by the time spring’s visitors begin trickling in.
While construction is ongoing, the northern Long Beach parking lot as well as the popular Incinerator Rock lot, where visitors can view the ocean from their car, will be closed. As will Parking Lot B at Wickaninnish Beach. Porta Potties will be put in place and Long Beach users will be able to access the showers at the south-end bathroom, but there will be no shower access for Wick Beach users.
“This is an improvement. We’re going to have these [new] washrooms for the next 30-50 years, so it’s short term pain for long term gain,” said the National Park Reserve’s Visitor Experience Manager Dave Tovell.
He said the bathroom at Wick was on “life support this entire summer,” and that staff was run ragged trying to keep the roughly 50-year-old facility’s water flowing through cracking pipes while tackling sand build-up.
“It barely made it through this summer and it definitely won’t make it another year,” he said.
He added the facility at Incinerator Rock has experienced significant vandalism over the years and Long Beach was also in need of an upgrade.
“They’re all in rough shape,” he said. “Our janitors do the best job they can and they do a great job, but when you’re dealing with a 40-50 year old building that’s been used heavily, they have been vandalized, they have been abused, there is not much left there and we need new love.”
The three new bathrooms will have outdoor showers and will each feature four change rooms.
They are being built as part of an $8.4 million investment by Parks Canada that saw a new kiosk at Green Point Campground as well as new signage, picnic tables, and bike racks as part of the integration of the currently under construction Pacific Traverse Trail. That work will include another three bathroom replacements next year; two at Green Point Campground and one at south Long Beach.