The GottaGo! campaign for public toilets
Published Wednesday, May 7, 2014 6:00PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, May 8, 2014 11:34AM EDT
It’s called the “GottaGo!” campaign – a grassroots movement to get more public washrooms in Ottawa.
The group started 5 months ago, lobbying the City and the NCC to find ways to make it easier for people who gotta go in Ottawa. Today it took its advocacy to the next level, launching its official website.
The movement seems to have struck a common chord with Ottawans. “We’ve been really surprised at how many people are expressing a need for these toilets and want to see it happen,” says GottaGo! Chair, Joan Kuyek.
One of those people is Sherry Pang. She is a member of GottaGo! She is also one of an estimated 7-thousand people in Ottawa with Crohn’s Disease. “We don't have that opportunity to plan our trips often. It's, you have to go. You have to find a washroom," says Pang.
One of GottaGo’s goals is to get the City to include more public washrooms along its new LRT route, The Confederation Line. Currently, washrooms will only be built at the line’s two termini, Blair Station and Tunney’s Pasture. “The biggest reason is security,” says Deputy City Manager Nancy Schepers. “Once you get public washrooms you have to manage them. You have to monitor them and they can become an area where it’s really not safe.” She also points out that six of the line’s thirteen stations are beside shopping centres and other facilities that have public washrooms.
Kuyek says washrooms can be designed for safety, as they have in other cities around the world. "And sometimes you just need to invest in some staff to take care of them,” she adds. “Better than having people feel they can't take care of their bodily functions when they need to."