The Village of Alix will re-open public washrooms at the popular local lake, councillors decided at their regular meeting July 8.
Councillors visited the issue after reading a memo from Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Michelle White who reminded councillors that they passed a resolution in April, due to coronavirus concerns, to keep public amenities at the lake closed.
White noted that municipal staff felt a bit confused at their height of the pandemic, as the provincial government gave instructions for “regular cleaning” of public facilities.
Staff took that to mean regular cleaning about every two hours, which was difficult for small municipalities such as Alix to handle.
As it turns out the guidelines didn’t necessarily require cleaning that often.
White’s memo noted further elaboration stated that high-contact surfaces in the public washrooms should be cleaned twice a day, along with a record kept and availability of hand sanitizer for users.
Coun. Vicki Soltermann asked if it was possible to place hand sanitizer dispensers outside the public washrooms.
White stated that, yes, it is possible, but those sanitizers are difficult to find and can sometimes cost over $2,000 each.
She noted smaller ones inside the washrooms might be easier to find and easier on the municipality’s wallet. Coun. Ed Cole stated he felt the public washrooms should be re-opened if people are commonly using the day-use area, while other amenities, such as the concession, should be left to the caretaker’s discretion.
White stated the public has continually asked if all lake amenities will be re-opened, but she noted that some pandemic restrictions remain in effect, such as two-meter social distancing.
The CAO stated if all camping spots were open there’s no guarantee the village could ensure social distancing is followed.
She also told councillors she recommended leaving the public showers closed as it would be very difficult for village staff to ensure they’re cleaned according to pandemic protocols.
Councillors voted in favour of opening the public washrooms in accordance with pandemic guidelines, leaving the concession up to caretakers to decide but leaving public showers closed until further notice.
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative reporter