Although this may seem a minor issue in the grand scheme of things it is an issue that needed to be brought forward at the meeting which occurred June 3rd, 2015, “Town of Caledon – Parks and Recreation Visioning Plan.” As great ideas were put forth about the future of parks and recreation in the town of Caledon, including engagement and partnership of diverse communities, working together with businesses, residence and non-profit groups in creating facilities that promote togetherness, health and wellness, preservation of natural assets and integrating arts and culture – the concern with respect to washrooms being open for public use also needed to be brought forth.
As I spoke, a gentleman interrupted and said “Are you going to pay to have the washrooms cleaned?” I responded by saying “I am paying for it, we are all paying for it, as it is our tax dollars we are discussing spending here.” It is that statement that prompted me to post this blog and pursue this further so that changes can be made and the public can have access to the washrooms when they are using the parks or trails.
Let’s face it ….. It may be easier for men as some have been known to go anywhere, but it is not as easy for women, especially ones with small children, while also keeping in mind “going anywhere” is not very hygienic for the rest of the people using the parks and trails.
Millions of dollars will be spent putting this Visioning Plan to life, but we can not offer OPEN washrooms at some of our parks, one being the Caledon East Park by the fire hall? The use of this washroom is only available to organized sports and people that have booked and paid for permits. People that are using the park such as parents with children, ones walking the trails and others DO NOT HAVE ACCESS to these washrooms. I believe it’s a small thing to ask to have access to washrooms. I do realize that there have been issues of vandalism in the past, but this will always be a concern whether the washrooms are open or not. I am sure vandalism happens on the trails and in the parks ….. Does that mean we have to close those as well?
I am glad to say that the concerns were heard as some Caledon councillors and the Mayor were present at the meeting. In a conversation with the Mayor’s Office, earlier today, I was told that Mayor Allan Thompson, just last week, was in Edmonton at the FMC Conference where he gathered some great ideas about self-contained washrooms which he forwarded for the proposed planning in 2016. I would like to thank Mayor Allan Thompson for looking into this and it really is great to hear that something may be done about it in 2016. It is still a concern however, that this does not solve the issue of the washrooms currently being closed to the general public. I can only hope it is something that will change in the near future as some of the councillors have started to work with the town to make this happen.
I have heard stories from many on how disappointing it is that the washrooms are not opened, stories from nannies and babysitters not bringing the kids to the park as the kids have had accidents and one of a mother taking her child to a neighbouring house to use the washroom. If you do have the same concerns be sure to make your voice heard by contacting the town or local councillors. I have to say that we have some great councillors, that listen to public concern and work on helping make changes for the better.
I think this is a very small request to ask when we are spending millions of dollars on other things.