A discussion on the best location for a public washroom in Kimberley’s Platzl turned into a much broader discussion on the large trees in the Platzl and the iconic cuckoo clock. And no decision was made on the location of the washroom.
Earlier this year, Council approved the purchase of a public washroom known as an Urbaloo, which has been ordered. Staff then proceeded to seek out possible locations and were only able to find two viable spots in the Platzl, which have the appropriate access to sewer, water, storm and power.
Location 1 is in front of 145 Deer Park Avenue just north of the laneway and Platzl water feature. Choosing this location would require the removal of two evergreen trees as installation of the Urbaloo would damage their roots.
Location 2 is in the same area as the cuckoo clock and would require its relocation.
Staff recommended location 1.
Council has already received a petition against the placement of the washrooms.
Coun. Jason McBain said that he appreciated people voicing their opinion although he found the notion that the city was trying to turn the Platzl into a “concrete jungle” somewhat ridiculous. He asked if the Urbaloo could be tucked in behind the clock, but was told by Manager of Operations Chris Mummery that the sewer in that area was shallow and it wouldn’t work.
Coun Kent Goodwin then brought up another suggestion, why not put the washroom in the cuckoo clock.
Mummery said they did look at that but the clock was in very poor repair.
Mayor Don McCormick wondered if there wasn’t an opportunity there.
“The cuckoo clock is incredibly popular. It’s an homage to our story that we want to maintain and it needs to be rebuilt.”
Goodwin also mentioned that the big conifers in the Platzl were eventually going to have to be removed anyway as they were getting too big for the site.
Mummery said that they did monitor the trees and keep track of their health, and they would likely have to come out eventually.
“We had to take down one of the trees a few years ago,” McCormick said. “I will speak for the Fire Chief when I say we can’t be Fire Smart with those conifers. If one ever went up it would take half the Platzl.”
In the end it was decided to have staff look at the other options, although Mummery pointed out that the budget would likely have to be increased.
It was also suggested that no matter the location something would have to be done to pretty up the Urbaloo a bit.
In the end, Council defeated the original motion advising Location 1, and asked staff to have another look at locations, including possibly incorporating it into the cuckoo clock.