What would your toilet look like if you couldn’t flush it and only cleaned it once a month?
That gruesome image was essentially what happened in a restroom at a visitor centre near the border between the NWT and Alberta border.
And no one would’ve known had someone not posted the disgusting scene to social media.
That post prompted Hay River North MLA R.J. Simpson to ask Minister of Investment, Tourism and Infrastructure Wally Schumann about the scene.
“This is a perennial issue,” said Simpson. “It goes on and on for years, particularly at the border when the ice roads are in and all of the big trucks start coming from the south. It is where the truckers stop, and, you know, they don’t take it easy on that bathroom, Mr. Speaker, and it is not a great way to introduce visitors to the Northwest Territories.”
Schumann said toilet clean up at remote visitor centres are contracted out and is only done once a month in the winter.
Except in extraordinary circumstances like this.
Simpson said that this kind of crappy situation happens every year so cleaning once a month just isn’t enough.
“This is a difficult situation for us,” replied Schumann and added that the department is already spending about $50,000 a year.
“We could probably spend that in a week, if we had to really get after this thing, but we don’t have money to do this,” said Schumann.
To be clear, these restrooms are not even outhouses.
According to Schumann, those would cost about $70,000 each to install and double that if they were to be heated.
He added that the tale of the terrible toilets will be included in an ongoing review for the “strategic plan on parks,” much to Simpson’s dismay.
“There will probably be a report that comes out of it; maybe an action plan, maybe a framework, who knows?” he asked rhetorically. “This has been ongoing for years and years and years, so there must be some sort of plan.”