How much is too much to build a public washroom? A future stand-alone bathroom at the Dorian Parker Centre in Barrie’s Sunnidale Park comes with a price tag of $385,000, a cost Council initially balked at during a recent meeting. City staff presented a memo at council Monday evening to justify the cost for the new facility, claiming it would be a durable pre-fab that could easily be relocated to another park if desired, and service the park even if the Dorian Parker Centre changed or ceased to be. Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman says the washroom’s value isn’t dependent on the Dorian Parker Centre alone.
He adds the long term benefit of the facility helped council get over the initial sticker shock.
The washroom is being suggested by city staff along with a feasibility study of the Dorian Parker Centre itself, as it is in need of significant repair after years of deterioration. Money for the washroom would be included in the city’s 2019 budget, while funds are being earmarked in the 2020 budget for a study into the Dorian Parker Centre’s long term future, to the tune of $150,000. That gives city staff plenty of time to find ways of cutting those costs, come budget time, according to Mayor Lehman.
A few community groups rent out the Centre on a regular basis, while it is up for grabs for special events, meetings, seminars, or banquets. It’s named after Barrie’s 36th Mayor; Dorian Parker was mayor from 1972 to ’76, and in that time helped secure the 80 acres of land we know as Sunnidale Park today.