Plympton-Wyoming offers to help put washrooms at Highland Glen

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Plympton-Wyoming going to help maintain porta-potties at Highland Glen after a complaint the St. Clair Region Conservation Authority wasn’t providing bathrooms at the popular lakeside park.

Former councillor Ben Dekker wrote to council after a day at the beach with his grandchildren. He told The Independent in the eight hours they were there, about 1,000 people came through and there were no bathrooms there at the time.

Dekker says people were using the woods to relieve themselves and he voiced concern in the letter that it was not sanitary.

The park is owned and managed by the conservation authority. There was a washroom facility there in the past, but it was closed after it was extensively damaged several years ago. The conservation authority has been bringing in porta-potties since then but have not done that during the pandemic. Officials say the provincial protocols say the washrooms have to be cleaned twice a day and the authority doesn’t have the staff to do that.

Dekker, in an email to the conservation authority, called that “a litany of well thought out excuses as opposed to practical solutions.

“The reality is that people are using the park and need basic services, such as bathrooms.”

Councillor Bob Woolvett echoed Dekker’s concerns at council June 16. “It’s a sad situation that St. Clair Conservation Authority that has many parks, failed to put even porta-potties out there in Highland Glen,” he says. “I think it’s absolutely ridiculous.”

“If they’re going to have that park open, they should have those porta-potties or whatever washrooms that’s out there, open and I do agree 100 per cent with Mr. Dekker.

“I’ve been there two or three times in the last week or so and there’s all kinds of people out in there with nowhere to go.”

Plympton-Wyoming CAO Carolyn Tripp agreed telling council Wednesday she wanted the park to remain open for public use but “one would question if you can’t provide that basic of an essential why weren’t they closed.”

Tripp, after getting Dekker’s letter, contacted the conservation authority for an explanation and to offer the town’s help.

“We do have staff going through that area every day that we can certainly pick up the garbage and certainly help them by contacting a company to provide them with porta potti. I do know companies that will clean them for them once a day. He thought they needed to clean twice day. I said, ‘Well, we could certainly look into our staff maybe doing the other clean.'”

Tripp added she would expect the conservation authority would pay for the porta-potties and lower the fees the municipality pays it to maintain the park because of the help.

“I think it’s a good gesture,” says Mayor Lonny Napper. “And make sure there’s a sign on there that washrooms courtesy of Plympton-Wyoming.”

Conservation authority staff has arranged for the porta-potties to be placed in the park sometime over the next two days, according to town staff.