When you’ve got to go you’ve got to go and knowing where is half the battle.
Visitors are having a tough time finding relief in Ucluelet and the local business community is pushing their elected leaders to rectify the situation.
“It’s insane the amount of people that come through my shop on a daily basis,” Ocean Pet Supplies owner Carla Dave Anderson said during a public meeting in Ucluelet last week.
“There’s so many people that walk up and down and there’s nowhere to go to the bathroom.”
Mayor Dianne St. Jacques assured council would look into possible solutions.
“That’s something we can use the resort municipality funds for, but then it’s finding the right location,” she said. “It’s something that we’ve tossed around and then having the staff afterwards to do the cleaning and maintaining of them…We are certainly looking at that.”
Coun. Mayco Noel said it’s hard to nail down where the centre of town is and that new bathroom facilities can be expensive.
“Bathrooms are something that we don’t want to lose sight of,” he said. “There’s no real immediate solution but it’s something that we’re definitely working on.”
The town’s public washrooms are located at the Ucluelet Aquarium, the inner boat basin and the downtown visitor centre.
During the meeting, locals suggested these spots aren’t summer’s busiest areas and the centre’s washrooms are only accessible when the centre is open.
Coun. Mayco Noel suggested signage directing tourists towards the town’s existing facilities could be all that’s needed because it’s not clear when a washroom is just a block away.
“Bathrooms are a big thing for me, the lack thereof, so I’m hoping we can come up with some better signage and direct some people through it,” he said.
“There’s no real signage telling you where to go…As simple as it sounds if you’re the one that needs one you don’t know where you’re going because you don’t know where you’re at. Tourism Ucluelet will hopefully be putting some more signs throughout the town before tourist season.”
Tourism Ucluelet’s executive director Denise Stys-Norman told the Westerly News after the meeting that conversations around new signage are very preliminary.
“TU has some limitations as to how they can spend the MRDT dollars and we have to be mindful of what the signage looks like,” she said. “With regard to placement, design, whose paying for it, and those sorts of things, we have not finalized those steps yet.”
She said she is currently investigating costs for a separate entrance to the washrooms at the downtown visitor centre.
“It opens the opportunity for when the office is closed, if people are looking for a washroom, they still have access to one,” she said adding the extra entrance would relieve pressure from surrounding businesses during the busy summer season.
“It really does come down to accessibility. It seems like a small thing, but it’s a necessity. It’s a basic need that people have when they come here.”
She said there is no timeline in place for the new entrance to be complete, but added the building is expected to be open and ready to go by the May long weekend.