Yellowknife Rotary Club offers up $100K for a 24/7 public washroom downtown

The Rotary Club of Yellowknife is proposing a 24/7 public washroom facility in the city's downtown core and will pay $100,000 to get it started.

'It's needed now and it can be done now,' says Rotary Club member Wayne Guy

The washroom at Twist and Shout is open to the public. The owners of the restaurant opened up their washrooms to the public for the last two years. (CBC)

The Rotary Club of Yellowknife is willing to contribute $100,000 to help Yellowknife get its first 24/7 public washroom.

Public washrooms are currently available at City Hall, the public library and Somba K'e Civic Plaza during business hours in the downtown core. But options are limited come nighttime.

"We see this as a now project," said Wayne Guy, a member of the Rotary Club, during a presentation at a Municipal Services Committee meeting Monday.  

"It's needed now and it can be done now if the contribution agreements work out well." 

In a meeting in September with Mayor Mark Heyck and other city officials, the Rotary Club requested that the city contribute $300,000 toward the project, and provide ongoing maintenance of the 24/7 washroom.

The club proposes to pay $50,000 in cash, and provide the other half through in-kind donations of services from two companies — Williams Engineering Canada and Guy Architects Ltd.

The proposed location is at the corner of 50th Avenue (Franklin Avenue) and 50th Street in the downtown core. The goal is to build the facility this summer.

The club proposed the facility should be "sculptural and diaphanous" — meaning you can see through it, but it's private, explained Guy.

"So that means no one's going to get mugged, or it will be easy to monitor the security of the place," he said.

Issue with the 50-50 location

Coun. Linda Bussey raised concerns about the proposed location of the washrooms, with the corner of Franklin and 50th Street — currently an unused parking lot beside Centre Square Mall — being a "key area" downtown.

"We're still discussing about developing that area and what's going to happen in the future on that corner," said Bussey, who also said she supports the partnership between the club and the city, but the location might need to be reconsidered.

Coun. Adrian Bell agreed. 

"Perhaps that is a better use than a parking lot, but we have had quite a few discussions about other possible catalysts [amenities]," said Bell.

Council will discuss the proposal further, and decide whether or not they'll move forward with the partnership.

With files from Jamie Malbeuf

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