Two expensive, automated public toilets installed in the East Village haven't seemed to stop people from urinating in the streets.

Police told CBC News they are handing out just as many tickets this year as they did before the automated toilets were installed eight months ago near Riverfront Avenue, averaging about two tickets a day. The by-law violation carries a potential fine of $300.

Staff Sgt. Todd Robertson said police wrote 827 such tickets city-wide last year. So far this year police have written 365 tickets.


The city's first self-cleaning, automated public toilet was installed on popular 17th Avenue. ((Joclyn Cozac/CBC))

"Looking at those numbers, I suggest we are probably – likely – going to match last year's tickets written," he said.

The toilets cost about $210,000 each and are supposed to be self-cleaning. But when CBC News recently examined the toilets they were dirty and the toilet seats weren't working.

The new public potties were aimed at keeping bar patrons and homeless people from using the streets as toilets.

"This was a way for us counteract the sort of human waste on our streets prior to the initiation of the program. The overall strategy is successful as we are providing public access to an automated and self-cleaning toilet system," said city Ald. John Mar.

Several homeless people told CBC News they don't use the toilets for reasons ranging from feeling uncomfortable in the automated toilets to not liking the location and feeling unwelcome in the areas where the public washrooms are located.