‘Where are the washrooms?’ ask anxious Wakefield locals, visitors
A business owner can only watch so many tourists relieve themselves in public just steps from her boutique before it becomes time to take drastic action — or, in the case of Wendy Stephens, owner of End of the Line Boutique in Wakefield, write a strongly worded letter to the municipality.
“The weekend of Nov. 7 and 8 was not only beautiful, but it was also embarrassing for our little village,” she wrote in her letter titled, “Public urination is still a problem,” which was addressed to the La Pêche council, and published in the Letters to the Editor section of the Nov. 18 edition of The Low Down.
In a recent interview with the newspaper, Stephens said things haven’t changed and she only expects it to get worse with what she believes will be an abnormally busy tourist season.
If we're going to tout ourselves as a tourist city, we need tourist facilities... I drove by my store the other day and there was a guy urinating behind a tree right in front of the train tracks,” Stephens explained. “You don't see this in Almonte or Merrickville, and it's hugely embarrassing for Wakefield.”
Stephens said she hears from tourists and residents alike almost everyday asking why there aren’t any public washrooms available, and she’s tired of having to tell people their best option is to drive up the hill to Tim Hortons.
The Low Down asked La Pêche Mayor Guillaume Lamoureux about the possibility of winterizing the public washrooms, which are located at the edge of Parc de la Place Roquebrune-sur-Argens, also known as turntable park, off of Chemin Riverside, across from Stephen’s boutique.
Lamoureux responded saying that the potential use of the washrooms would have to justify the cost of the maintenance and winterization.
“We can see how the coming winter season turns out and reassess after,” Lamoureux wrote in an email. “But do we have to invest in this project regardless, simply because a handful of people have adopted this new behaviour? I don’t think so.”
In the meantime, Stephens has also suggested that the village could take a page from the housing development project near her house, which has installed port-a-potties with “little jackets” to insulate them for the winter.
“If we're 'waiting to see' quote-unquote who comes up – if that’s what we have to do – at least we can have one toilet,” Stephens added in response to the mayor’s suggestion.