The Vancouver Park Board has indicated that a pair of single-occupancy public washrooms have now opened at Crab Park, just north of Gastown and the railyard on the downtown Vancouver peninsula’s waterfront.
Both washrooms are contained within standalone “Portland Loo” structures, which are prefabricated modular facilities originally designed by the City of Portland, and now marketed and sold by an Oregon company under license from the city.
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The new Crab Park washrooms are built on the previous footprint of a field house and washroom structure, located on the south side of the park, along Waterfront Road. The previous structure was removed due to its poor condition.
Since last year, Crab Park has been the site of a large homeless encampment. In January 2022, an injunction filed by the Park Board to disband the encampment was rejected by a BC judge.
2019 condition of Crab Park’s previous field house and washroom structure:
May 2022 construction for the two standalone “Portland Loo” washrooms replacing the previous structure:
The newly installed “Portland Loo” washrooms at Crab Park, replacing the previous structure:
According to the Park Board in 2021, each Portland Loo unit carries an acquisition cost of $150,000. At the time, the new Crab Park washrooms were estimated to carry a total cost of $698,600, including $384,200 for on-site work and $14,400 for demolition work.
The Portland Loo design is said to be durable and easier to clean, which lowers maintenance and sanitation costs.
The Park Board is also planning to install Portland Loo washrooms at other city parks, including one toilet at Columbia Park (east of Oakridge Centre mall), and one toilet at Coopers’ Park (just east of the Cambie Street Bridge in North False Creek in downtown).
The additional single-stall washroom projects carry cost estimates of $458,600 and $482,000, respectively. The provincial government has provided the Park Board with a $645,000 grant towards the cost of the Coopers’ Park washroom location.
These new Portland Loo locations were approved by Park Board commissioners in late 2020 as a pilot project under the comprehensive public washroom strategy. Under this strategy, the Park Board is aiming to expand the availability of public washrooms at its parks and facilities across the city, while also improving maintenance standards.