At its the June 27 meeting, Huntsville council asked staff to further investigate repurposing the kiosk formerly located at Kent Park for a seasonal washroom at River Mill Park.
As the municipality continues looking for a solution to providing a washroom at River Mill Park, director of operations and protective services Tarmo Uukkivi said the conversion of the former Kent Park kiosk has been suggested as an option.
The kiosk is currently located on the south side of River Mill Park, adjacent to Dara Howell Way.
“The building has been inspected by Town of Huntsville Building Department Staff. The purpose of the inspection was to determine whether the building meets code requirements, was structurally sound and could meet AODA (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act) requirements. Building Department staff determined that the building is sound and could meet the Town’s requirement for the type of use being contemplated,” stated Uukkivi in his report to council.
He said staff have determined that the best location for the converted kiosk would be adjacent to West Street at the northwest corner of the park.
Uukkivi also stated that building a permanent structure would be costly, particularly given the rise in building materials. He gave a preliminary estimate of anywhere from $250,000 to $300,000 and said it could take up to two years to build. He said repurposing the kiosk was estimated to cost $52,000 and take about 10 months to complete.
Either option would carry $14,278 in operational costs for cleaning, maintenance, salaries/benefits as well as supplies and materials. Included in that estimate is the cleaning of graffiti and other minor vandalism, according to Uukkivi.
In the interim, the Town will continue leasing washroom facilities from the new owners of the Coldwell Banker building which was recently sold. It will pay $2,600 to rent it for July and August until it comes up with another solution.
Deputy Mayor Nancy Alcock said she liked the idea of repurposing the kiosk. “I sort of wonder what happens when we have events in the winter in River Mill Park, but I think that’s one of those maybe we cross that bridge when we get to it, and I think this is a good compromise,” she said.
Councillor Bob Stone said he was excited about the idea and so was the Downtown Huntsville BIA. “It seems like a perfect solution, it’s a cute little building and potentially if this works, maybe we could do something similar at Lookout field and Avery Beach. This is cost-effective and wonderful.”
Councillor Tim Withey wasn’t so sure. He said he was puzzled by the suggestion and noted how small the building is. Uukkivi said it would be a unisex single washroom used by one person at a time and meet accessibility requirements. He said during large events the organizers are required to provide outhouses.
“It just seems tiny for a permanent-type structure for the entire park and there’s going to be a lineup,” said Withey.
Councillor Dan Armour said he thought one washroom could be sufficient because there are also bathrooms at Town Hall. Armour also noted that it was more cost-effective.
Councillor Dione Schumacher said she agreed with the idea, but wanted the emphasis to be placed on permanent not just seasonal washrooms, particularly in other areas of the town.
In the end, council directed staff to further explore the option and return with a report in July.
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