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Public washrooms reopening at Lakeview Park – but there’s a catch

By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express

Lakeview Park is once again open to the public, and so are its washrooms, but access will be restricted.

The city recently announced Lakeview Park would be opening with limited access on July 3. There will be a maximum of 500 visitors allowed on the beach at one time.

Initially, to help with social distancing, porta potties were installed, as only one person can use them at a time. However, Mayor Dan Carter points out this wasn’t working.

He tells The Oshawa Express the Pandemic Steering Committee initially made the decision to follow the province’s medical directive of “one individual in one stall at a time.”

“People have now said that this is unacceptable. So now what we’re doing is we’re opening up the main washroom at Lakeview Park,” he says.

The city’s Pandemic Steering Committee thought the porta potties were the best option at first, as it ensured only one person was in there at a time, says Carter.

“We just thought that it was the best option moving forward to make sure that one person was in there, then it could get cleaned and we weren’t exposing people from being two or three feet away from each other,” he says.

He continues by explaining there will be a staff member standing at the entrance of the park’s main bathroom, making sure a certain number of people are allowed in to maintain social distancing.

“Then they’ll have to close the bathroom down, clean it, then open it back up,” says Carter. “It’s going to take an extra step, but that’s what the public is desiring, and we still have a commitment to keep people healthy and safe.”

He adds there will be steps taken inside and outside the bathroom to ensure social distancing is being practiced, and the facility is clean.

Carter says he and other councillors received several phone calls and emails after the announcement was made regarding the porta potties, resulting in the committee working with staff to find a solution.

“I’ve been on the phone all weekend in regards to trying to make arrangements to make sure that the main building gets opened up,” he says.

Carter says the city knows there may be some frustration whenever the washrooms need to be closed for cleaning, but ultimately it comes down to safety.

“We’re just going to have to educate people about the new standard around public washrooms,” he says.

He notes it will be similar to how the Oshawa Centre has been monitoring use of their washrooms.

“They’ve had to limit how many people get in, and they’ve had to cover or lock off some of the stalls so there’s social distancing,” he says.

Ultimately, Carter says the number one priority at  city hall is to make sure people are safe and healthy despite the current pandemic.

“There was discussion and debate about how we should do it… but everybody understood that this is what the public wanted, and it was our job to figure out the best way forward,” he says.

Carter hopes it’s clear while they have heard what the public has to say, his ultimate responsibility right now is to keep residents safe and healthy.

“I’m going to take every extraordinary step to make sure that people are safe and healthy,” says Carter. “But I also need the public to work with us, and to understand that in some circumstances, it’s not going to be what it once was, and we’re all going to have to work together to make sure that each and every resident… is safe.”

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