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CW plunges into corporate sponsorship with Forfar Park washroom

Proposed washroom - Architectural rendering of new corporate sponsorship washroom in Forfar Park.   Submitted image

CW plunges into corporate sponsorship with Forfar Park washroom

by Mike Robinson

ELORA - It looks like Centre Wellington is taking the plunge into corporate sponsorship of public facilities.

On Feb. 26, councillors endorsed the recommendation from its Feb. 20 committee of the whole that council authorize the mayor and clerk to enter into an agreement with the Van Grootheest Team, Century 21 Excalibur Realty Brokerage Inc. to construct a public washroom in Forfar Park.

Further, the company will be permitted to display commercial signage on the side of the public washroom for a period of 20 years from the time the agreement begins.

The township also approved capital spending of $5,000 for building permit fees, utility connections and site works.

In his report to council, Brian Detzler, managing director of community services, stated recently Eric VanGrootheest approached staff with the offer to design, construct and donate an accessible public washroom facility at Forfar Park.

“This would advance the timing of constructing the washroom facility from 2026 to 2018,” Detzler explained.

He estimated a donation value of $55,000.

In exchange, the company’s commercial sign will be affixed to the exterior of the public washroom and maintained by the business for a 20-year period.

The township would be responsible for the building permit and water/sewer/hydro connection costs.

Detzler said the one-time capital set-up/connection cost of $5,000 would be funded through general capital reserves.

The township will also be responsible for ongoing maintenance/operation costs of the washroom, which will come to approximately $4,000 to $5,000 annually, and will be funded through the passive parks operating budget accounts, Detzler said.

He noted that VanGrootheest took the initiative to have the design rendering established and has completed a set of drawings ready to be submitted to the building department.

Detzler added VanGrootheest has a great interest in the project.

While Detzler agreed it does promote VanGrootheest’s business “more importantly, it fits with his civic engagement to move this forward.”

Detzler noted that Forfar Park has access to the Elora Cataract Trail/TransCanada Trail through Centre Wellington.

“Recently it has gone through an upgrade of its parking lot and the services for water, sewer and hydro had been brought into the park - to allow for the future washroom to be built,” Detzler said.

Mayor Kelly Linton said “I love the look of the washroom.”

However, the mayor asked what happens if the company name changes.

Detzler said the township has control over what the sign looks like and he noted discussions between VanGrootheest and township staff on the sign.

“I believe it is tastefully done,” he said, noting that the sign does not contain a phone number, website or contact information.

“It is about promoting the business, not garnering cold calls,” he said.

Councillor Kirk McElwain asked, “is this a one-seater ... for lack of a better description.”

Detzler explained it is a one-person washroom - but it is fully accessible.

McElwain asked whether this structure would need to follow the same regulations municipal washrooms typically follow.

Detzler said the answer is “yes” and those amenities are included in the design.

McElwain quipped that perhaps VanGrootheest should be brought in to build all the township public washrooms because it appears to be much cheaper than when the municipality undertakes the work.

Detzler said the washrooms built by the municipality in recent years are much larger with a minimum of three persons and gender divided male and female washrooms along with an accessible washroom.

Councillor Mary Lloyd asked if there was proprietary information involved with the design or if there is potential for similar sponsored facilities in the community.

Detzler said the discussion was held with VanGrootheest in the early stages and suggested they would continue as the township has interest in this type of program.

“Our approach is let’s get one built, completed and then discuss potential expansion,” Detzler said.

Lloyd asked if there would ever be consideration of a family washroom on the grounds of the Centre Wellington sportsplex.

At present, the only family washroom is within the building.

Detzler noted the township has a program for washroom upgrades.

“We are considering options as we move forward - not only from an accessible standpoint, but for families as well,” he said.

Linton thanked VanGrootheest for taking the initiative because of its benefit to the community.

March 2, 2018


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