A popular pub on British Columbia's Sunshine Coast is coming under fire for openly installing a surveillance camera in the men's washroom.

The camera at the Lighthouse Pub in Sechelt, B.C., is attached to the washroom's ceiling, pointed away from the stalls and urinals and seems to capture only the hand-washing area.

The pub's manager declined to be interviewed or named, but said the pub has previously had problems with vandalism and drug dealing, and the camera was there to prevent it.

John Carlson, a retired resident, says he was shocked to discover the camera on his last trip to the pub's washroom.

"I was kind of taken aback, just seeing it there. I didn't realize it was there. I'd probably been in the washroom several times but didn't realize it was there until then," he said.

"I feel just having one in the washroom is somewhat intrusive."

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The Lighthouse Pub manager said they decided to install the camera after having problems with drugs and vandalism. (CBC)

Caily Dipuma of the B.C. Civil Liberties association calls the practice highly questionable.

"Offending people's right to privacy as a defence to that sort of activity … I don't think is an acceptable way to go about business," she said.

The pub manager disagreed and said the camera has already proven to be useful, with its footage being used in three cases under investigation by the RCMP.

He maintained that the camera is not pointed in a direction that would expose anything, and noted that there is no camera in the women's washroom.

Hidden Vancouver camera

Concerns over privacy in the washrooms at The Lighthouse Pub follow revelations in September that a Vancouver chef allegedly installed a hidden camera in the bathroom of his upscale Gastown restaurant.

Two Chefs and a Table co-owner Allan Bosomworth allegedly used the camera to record patrons and staff from the waist down during the busy holiday season.

Bosomworth turned himself into police and has been charged with secretly observing or recording nudity in a private place. The alleged offence carries a maximum sentence of five years.

He is scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 16. None of the allegations have been proven in court.