The Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce is grateful for the support from the three Saanich municipalities including North Saanich to help maintain washrooms near its offices. (Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce/Submitted)

The Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce is grateful for the support from the three Saanich municipalities including North Saanich to help maintain washrooms near its offices. (Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce/Submitted)

North Saanich pitches in money to help clean chamber potties

Chamber president ‘grateful’ for support, but also heard criticism from councillors

North Saanich council Monday approved $2,400 for washrooms operated by the Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, but not before some councillors criticized the chamber and the provincial government.

The funding comes in response to a letter from chamber president Katie Kroeker saying that the chamber would be forced to close washrooms near its offices unless the three Peninsula municipalities contribute $2,400 each for their maintenance. North Saanich officially joins Sidney in supporting the request from the chamber, while Central Saanich has also signalled its support.

While Coun. Heather Gartshore said she was happy to provide the money, she said she was also a “little ticked to receive the letter,” in challenging the chamber’s claim that North Saanich had eventually provided funding for the washrooms after “several requests” from the chamber.

“The request came to North Saanich council once, and after one request we provided the funding,” she said. “So you know, another time it might be nice to says ‘thanks for providing the funding, and by the way, we are also asking you for additional funding for cleaning toilets that don’t belong to you and aren’t even on municipal property.’”

RELATED: Saanich Peninsula chamber seeks cash influx to keep washrooms open on Highway 17

RELATED: Sidney councillor criticizes North Saanich on washrooms

Coun. Jack McClintock, the lone official voice of opposition, questioned claims by the chamber that closing the washrooms would hurt local commerce, focusing on a section of the letter making an economic argument for keeping the washrooms open.

It states that if “local tradespeople need to take a further 15 minutes out of their day to find a new washroom location, at a $60 per hour charge out rate, that would cost local businesses $3,600 in lost revenue per year per employee. If there are 100 tradespeople using the washroom each day, that is $360,000 in business revenue lost.”

McClintock said it is up to businesses (not the chamber) to provide washrooms for their employees.

Coun. Patricia Pearson broadly agreed with these comments, but also acknowledged the benefits of having those washrooms open. “I’m sure that the washroom facility is appreciated by many in the area,” she said.

Coun. Celia Stock pointed out earlier that the area is one of the entry points to Vancouver Island in framing the support as a matter of public health and safety.

Another looming issue concerns the role of the province as the public heard staff accuse the province of downloading the cost of washroom maintenance onto the municipality.

Mayor Geoff Orr said the province should pick up some of the cost, in pointing to the chamber’s application to make the larger area a designated rest stop.

Speaking to the Peninsula News Review after the vote, Kroeker said the chamber is “grateful for the understanding and timely approval of the funding request” from the three municipalities. “This funding is vital to ensure that our washrooms can remain open safely and in compliance with (COVID-19) cleaning standards.”

When asked about the comments by Gartshore and McClintock, Kroeker said “there were questions and comments posed by members of the North Saanich council that suggest we could provide supplemental information and we have reached out directly to address them.”


Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Just Posted

A report on food security in Sooke reveals that nearly 15 per cent of people in Sooke have trouble getting food on the table. (The Canadian Press)
Food security a growing challenge in Sooke

‘This isn’t going to get any better if we don’t do anything about it’

A health-care worker takes part in HeArt Therapy session conducted by Shirley artist Sheila Thomas. (Contributed - Lorrie Beauchamp)
A creative ‘thanks’ to Vancouver Island’s essential workers

Artist Sheila Thomas creates therapy art session for workers on pandemic’s frontlines

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for Greater Victoria with unusually high temperatures expected Monday and this coming weekend. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria’s first week of summer will be a scorcher

Special weather statement issued Monday by Environment Canada

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

Police are looking for witnesses and video footage after a crash on June 18. (Photo courtesy of West Shore RCMP)
West Shore RCMP looking for videos related to Corvette crash

Driver believed to have fled the scene of View Royal crash

Jesse Roper tackles weeds in his garden to kick off the 2021 season of What’s In My Garden Man? (YouTube/Whats In My Garden)
VIDEO: Metchosin singer-songwriter Jesse Roper invites gardeners into his plot

What’s In My Garden, Man? kicks off with the poop on compost

The Coquihalla Lakes washroom is getting upgrades. (Submitted)
Coquihalla to get upgrades to aging washrooms

The Ministry of Transportation is providing $1 million in funding to upgrade 3 rest areas

The Crofton trailer park home where the bodies of two people were found. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Mom still waiting for answers after daughter and her fiance found dead in Crofton

Pair discovered dead in their Crofton home in May identified as Rachel Gardner and Paul Jenkins

By the end of life, the average North American has eaten the weight of a family sedan in sugar. (Pixabay.com)
FITNESS: Living the sweet life without too much sugar

Simple choices can have a major impact on your health

The Sacred Hearts church on PIB land burned Monday morning. (Theresa May Jack/Facebook)
Two churches on First Nation land in South Okanagan burn to the ground

Sacred Hearts church on Penticton Indian Band land was reduced to rubble

Tl’etinqox-lead ceremony at the site of the former St. Joseph’s Mission in Williams Lake, B.C., June 18, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
‘We are all one people’: Honouring residential school victims and survivors

Love, support and curiousity: Canadians urged to learn about residential schools and their impact

Indigenous rights and climate activists gathered outside Liberty Mutual’s office in Vancouver to pressure the insurance giant to stop covering Trans Mountain. (Photo by Andrew Larigakis)
Activists work to ensure Trans Mountain won’t get insurance

Global campaign urging insurance providers to stay away from Canadian pipeline project

In the first election with public money replacing corporate or union donations, B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau and B.C. NDP leader John Horgan take part in election debate at the University of B.C., Oct. 13, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. MLAs ponder 2022 ‘sunset’ of subsidy for political parties

NDP, B.C. Fed call for increase, B.C. Liberals have no comment

Most Read