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Report highlights concerns with Winnipeg's planned public washroom downtown


There are concerns around a new permanent public washroom set to open in downtown Winnipeg early next year.

The facility on Main Street is expected to open by February, offering vulnerable populations and other residents access to a safe space to use the washroom in the city's core.

But a new report to the city's Protection, Community Services and Parks committee highlights problems temporary washrooms throughout the city have endured over the past 16 months including vandalism, fire damage, and theft.

To reduce potential issues at the permanent facility, the report addresses the need for on-site staff with backgrounds in peer support and experience in harm reduction.

The report suggests the washroom operate on a 24-7 basis but currently, there's only enough funding for a 12-hour model.

"What we want to do is, we want to move toward having the facilities open as long as possible, having them as vandal-resistant as possible, and having people who are operating the washroom there to help," said Wins Bridgman, an architect and co-director of Bridgman Collaborative Architecture Ltd.

Bridgman said 24-hour access is important, but he recognizes it may need to happen in incremental steps.

"There's a lot of people at the corner of Henry and Main who are living in areas on the street who will need washrooms 24/7, so we should be able to provide washrooms 24/7," Bridgman said.

"However, 12 hours a day is a really good first step."

The city's proposed 2022 budget includes $250,000 for permanent washroom operations covering 12-hour staffing costs and facility maintenance.

Councillor Sherri Rollins, head of the committee, said she will continue to push for further funding because access to washrooms is a basic human right.

-with files from CTV's Daniel Halmarson Top Stories

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