The removal of a public washroom in a prominent spot along a section of the Lochside Trail in Central Saanich has raised a stink with at least one user.
David Newell, who describes himself as a cyclist, hiker and frequent user of both the Galloping Goose and Lochside trails, said the Capital Regional District (CRD) should immediately replace the outhouse removed on Dec. 31 from where Lochside Trail intersects Island View Road near Michell’s Farm Market.
Newell predicts the outhouse’s removal will send people “needing to immediately alleviate themselves” to use nearby bushes and the side of the road “as a massive, uncontrolled outhouse,” an unacceptable outcome for public as well as ecological health.
“We need to keep our farmlands clean and prevent the spread of disease,” said in a letter to the Peninsula News Review. “This is not only a question of convenience for cyclists and hikers, it is a health and sanitation issue, but it is one that needs to be resolved without delay.”
According to Newell, many will feel the absence of the outhouse that served cyclists and hikers in a four-kilometre radius in the Martindale Valley as well as those travelling along Island View Beach Road to the ocean and numerous side roads, where people live and where crops are grown.
Jeff Leahy, senior manager, regional parks for the CRD, confirmed the outhouse’s removal, saying it was a temporary solution. “We gave people a heads-up that once the Fowler Park washroom (in Saanich) was in place that that one would be removed.”
It is not clear for how long the outhouse stood at its former location, with Leahy pegging its tenure between 10 to 15 years, citing information from the Michell family. He acknowledged some residents may not consider that tenure to be temporary.
Leahy said the removal of the outhouse reflected the CRD’s trails management plan. “[It] identified the need for a permanent facility at Fowler Park, so we went into partnership with Saanich,” he said. Fowler Park lies about four kilometres from the former outhouse site.
The removed outhouse was in a jurisdictional limbo. While the CRD operated and maintained the facility, the section of the Lochside Trail it served is the responsibility of Central Saanich. This said, Leahy said the CRD is willing to look into the issue. He has already reached out to Central Saanich and other parties may also be involved in those conversations, Leahy added.
While there are no usage statistics, Leahy said the location was popular.
“The food is amazing and with all the destinations out there, it is a popular spot. It has to be pumped a significant amount of time in the summer months, when it is pretty busy there,” he said, adding all CRD parks and trails are busy these days.
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