The new bathrooms at Centennial park will be open year-round. This is a sample image and may not reflect the actual product. /COURTESY VILLAGE OF VALEMOUNT

Article updated July 5th 2021

By Laura Keil

Valemount’s 40-year-old seasonal public washrooms in Centennial Park will soon be replaced with year-round washrooms.

Urben Blu, a Canadian company, will build the new washroom facilities, a self-cleaning unit with a hands-free design for taps, toilets, urinals and sinks.

According to the Urben Blu website, toilets are equipped with an automatic bowl washing and drying and floor washing activated after each use.

“These features will limit the risk of infection through touching the washroom surfaces,” according to a Village press release.

Other amenities include a water bottle-filling station and change tables. The Village says it will save on operating and maintenance costs by lowering water consumption with low-flow fixtures. However, unlike the old bathrooms which were open in the warm season only, the new ones will be heated and open year-round.

The Village says the washrooms will contribute to Valemount’s reputation as a favourite stop on Hwy 5 between Jasper National Park and Kamloops.

“The new washrooms will also combine visitor and resident needs as it is well-placed, in a park setting close by an electric vehicle charging station,” a press release reads. “There is easy access to retail services and restaurants. The washrooms will be esthetically pleasing, following the guidelines set out in the newly adopted Official Community Plan with a steep roof, rock base and natural colours.”

The Village says installing top-notch toilet facilities for public use also promotes equality and social inclusion.

The new bathrooms are thanks to funding provided by the Province of British Columbia under the Tourism Dependent Communities Fund and Resort Municipality Initiative Program, and the Columbia Basin Trust under the Community Initiatives & Affected Areas Program.

Village CAO Wayne Robinson says the cost for the washrooms is covered entire by grants and external funding, and no property tax dollars are not being spent on the new washrooms.

The cost to purchase the washrooms is $386,984.  Robinson says this includes two automatic self-cleaning washrooms with all fixtures, drawings/ plans, taxes, delivery and installation, but does not include the cost of hiring a crane to lift and place the washroom building (it is pre-assembled) or the demolition of the existing washrooms. 

The Village secured the following funding for this project:

  • $327,860 of funding through the Tourism Dependent Community Fund, provided by the province of BC to assist tourism dependant Local Governments negatively impacted by COVID-19
  • $15,000 through the CBT CIIP in 2020 for washroom drawings
  • $30,000 through the NDIT Community Places program
  • All additional costs to the project are covered through the Resort Municipality Initiatives (RMI) program.  This is annual funding that the Village receives from the province for Valemount being a designated Resort Municipality.  RMI funding is intended to be used to further develop Valemount’s tourism potential.  This program is overseen by Economic Development Officer Silvio Gislimberti.

 The washrooms will be located in approximately the same location as the existing washrooms and installation is to occur later in August or into September.