I received the following email from the manager of the ByWard Market building this week after she read my story out of a committee meeting on a new market study. After the meeting I wandered down to the market to see these washrooms that received some attention. It was in the middle of the day, so things weren’t very horrific, but it looks like they cause staff a lot of headaches.
The short story? The market probably needs more public washrooms.
The email was also sent to Rideau-Vanier Coun. Mathieu Fleury.
Subject: How is the market doing?
As my subject line states I am writing to you in response to your article in the Ottawa Sun dated Wed. June 12.
I have been the building manager for 55 Byward Market Square for the past 13 years. Our caretaker greeted me Wed. morning with your article. Needless to say he was very disturbed with the comments that you both made regarding the washroom facilities.
Firstly, they are the ONLY public washrooms in the market area. On any given day especially in the summer market season they service more than 1000 people per day 7 days per week.
These patrons include tourists, locals, market vendors and farmers.
There have been numerous obstacles we have had to deal with over the years.
-street people hiding out to get a nights’ sleep.
-washrooms used to “bathe” in the morning
-drug use. We have installed needle boxes in each stall ( men and women), one of which was actually stolen off the wall,smoke detectors that will detect not only cigarette smoke but also smoke from drug use.
-flush valve stolen
-vandalism (abuse of the facilities as well as graffiti)
As being the only washrooms whenever the tour buses arrive the first question asked is “where is the washroom”?
If it weren’t for our facility they would be at the mercy of store owners and/ or restaurants non of whom are welcoming the business and most refuse.
On the Tues. you commented on the urinal had been reported that morning that it was out of service and was fixed that afternoon. The hand dryer was working sporadically but has since been fixed. Please remember that this is not a hotel lobby (the Westin locks most of their facilities to the public) nor a restaurant with limited patrons. However, have you ever been to another public facility with new toilets and urinals, new sinks and taps, new mirrors, fresh paint and granite top counters. I venture to say no you haven’t.
Mr. Fleury you might want to check out the washrooms at the Bay!! Try any Wal-Mart. Then you’ll see what filth looks like.
We have cleaners on site 12 hours each day, 7 days per week. Washrooms are always a challenge just getting in to clean is a problem
The very least I expect from both of you would be an apology to these 2 people and more research done by you on what a dirty bathroom really looks like.
I trust you will give this letter your attention.
Marilyn Taller, Manager, Byward Market Square.