Washrooms seem like a mundane topic to some, but it is actually something you hear a lot about if you are a parks commissioner – or a candidate. On Friday evening, I attended a Harvest Festival with some gay and transgendered people. Some of them talked to me about the need for washrooms in community centres where other-gendered people feel comfortable. Some community centres do have what are called "family" washrooms, but I was told that sometimes when a single other-gendered person approached staff for the key to the family washroom, that they were asked why they needed to use it when they weren’t with anyone else. The needs of trans-gendered people need to be recognized in a Parks & Recreation system for everyone.
I was also asked why so many washrooms in our parks are closed in the winter. They need winterizing so the pipes don’t burst in cold weather – some park washrooms do have winterized plumbing, but the ones that don’t are drained and closed in the winter. This requires a capital expenditure, and that – and the need for more washrooms in some parks that do not have them at all – is something that needs to be addressed in the next capital plan (2009-11), if not before.