Why is this an issue?
Access to washrooms is an issue for all municipalities. Over the past few years, access has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing opioid epidemic. It has also been impacted by increasing rates of homelessness. As a result, many businesses have restricted access to their washrooms, which has placed additional demands on public washrooms, including issues related to 24/7 access.
The downtown area, in particular, has experienced challenges in relation to public washroom access.
Where are all the public washrooms?
Public washrooms exist across the city, including in most civic facilities and parks. Specific hours for permanent facilities in parks are listed at: www.newwestcity.ca/washrooms.
During the better weather months, additional portable toilets are available to support sports organizations using the fields and facilities, as well as to increased usage of playgrounds. Generally, portable toilets in parks are open 24/7, except for the toilet in Tipperary Park as it is operated by the local farmers market and only available during their hours of operation. There is also a 24/7 portable toilet in uptown in the 700 block of 6th Street.
In downtown specifically, there are public washrooms at:
- Westminster Pier Park – available from 7am to 7pm (winter hours)
- Quayside Park – available from 8am to 5pm (winter hours)
- New Westminster Police – available to the public 24/7. If the front doors are locked, the buzzer can be used to gain access.
- Anvil Centre – Open 9am to 5pm seven days a week, and open late on Thursdays till 8pm.
What is the City doing to add more public washrooms?
As a part of the Downtown Livability Strategy, the City will install and maintain a 24/7 free-standing, pre-fabricated permanent toilet which is anticipated to be completed in fall 2023, depending upon procurement. You can read more about the Downtown Livability Strategy here: www.newwestcity.ca/downtownlivability.
The City is working with BC Housing to develop additional emergency shelter capacity and new supportive housing with access to washrooms for those who are unsheltered.
The City is also looking at other strategies to support access to public washrooms and is conducting research into what other jurisdictions are doing. More information will be coming about these possible strategies in the future.
Are businesses required to provide washrooms for the public?
No, they are not. Businesses that offer sit-down dining are required by the Public Health Act to provide washroom facilities for their customers. However, they are not required to provide them to the general public, and may restrict access if they choose.
How does the City deal with human waste in public spaces?
The City has contracted the services of a specialized waste removal company that is trained and able to deal with human waste. If you would like to report human waste on public property, please contact our Engineering Operations yard and they will arrange for collection. 604-526-4691 or .
People keep defecating on my business’ property. What should I do?
The City recommends that you post signage with the nearest public washroom facilities. If the problems continue, you may wish to limit or restrict access to the area, consider trimming any overgrown landscaping or potential places where a person may be shielded from view, and consider motion-activated lighting improvements. The City has developed a resource for businesses to address activity such as graffiti, vandalism, and human waste, which you can check out for more information at www.newwestcity.ca/nuisanceactivity.