Relief comes to Kamloops in the form of free-standing restrooms

Two Portland Loos, free-standing public washrooms made of steel, will be installed in Kamloops, B.C.

Residents and local agencies have been asking for 24-hour public toilets in downtown area

Portland Loos are free-standing washrooms designed to withstand vandalism. (The Portland Loo)

Kamloops, B.C., is getting two shiny, free-standing public washrooms that are made of steel and powered by solar energy.

One Portland Loo, as they're called, will be installed on Tranquille Road in North Kamloops while the other will be downtown on Victoria Street.

They will be the only public toilets in town available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

The washrooms cost $370,000, including installation, and will cost $55,000 a year to maintain.

"This is free-standing, really, the top of the line as far as what we want because they need to be indestructible," Coun. Tina Lange said during the city's budget meeting.

"You can't put a price on people's convenience and dignity."

Coun. Arjun Singh agreed, saying the new toilets will benefit homeless people in Kamloops.

"I think this is something that's a basic human dignity, to give folks the ability to use the washroom. Especially folks that don't have access to a home."

The washrooms were added to the city's 2018 budget because, according to the budget report, Kamloops residents and local agencies like Interior Health and the Kamloops Central Business Improvement Association have been asking for additional public washrooms in high-traffic areas of the city.

Portland Loos aren't new to the province; Smithers, Victoria and Nelson all boast the free-standing restrooms.

"I think it's working really well." said Smithers Mayor Taylor Bachrach.

Bachrach said Smithers had to close their Portland Loo for a while this winter because subzero temperatures were causing ice to form on the toilet. But having a public washroom available around the clock for most of the year has been a positive experience.

"Public washrooms are really hard to get right," he said.

The date for installation in Kamloops has not yet been determined. 


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About the Author

Courtney Dickson

Broadcast and Digital Journalist

Courtney Dickson is a journalist working in Kamloops, B.C. Email her at courtney.dickson@cbc.ca with story tips.