Vancouver city of kings but short on thrones


The coercive spirit of the 2010 Winter Olympics strikes again! Support us, or you hate Canada. This time, it’s all about a new definition of going for the gold:

Concerned that Olympic visitors will be frustrated by a lack of public washrooms, a downtown business association is asking its members to throw open their washroom doors.

Businesses should take down signs indicating washrooms are for customers only, said Charles Gauthier, executive director of the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association, which represents businesses in a 90-block area downtown.

Ah yes, the typical “when you work hard, we all win” attitude of the Olympics has permeated to the DVBIA, or I should say “trickled down.”

“We’re not saying them to that you’re going to benefit financially, but it’s just being a good host,” Gauthier said. “Open your washrooms up and make them available to the general public.”

But the move could help downtown businesses in the long run, as happy visitors may return and pass along word of their good trip to others, he said. Each year, eight million tourists visit the downtown area.

“Hey, Sally! Remember when we went to the Vancouver downtown and they let us use the bathroom for nothing? Let’s go back there based on that one minor detail!”

This is Vancouver we are talking about, where the major public washroom is known as “the sidewalk.” The citizens of Van are fortunate that it rains approximately 350 days a year here, otherwise we would be knee-deep in it. Plus if you lay a picture of Jesus Christ on the sidewalk before doing your business, you actually qualify for a BC arts grant.

Why is the burden being shifted to the private sector? Why else? Piss-poor planning:

Vanoc will provide 1,600 portable toilets, mostly outside venues and 146 at “live sites” downtown, Vanoc said earlier.

Salt Lake City provided 2,600 portable toilets for the 2006 Olympics.

I guess it stands to reason that if you are planning a huge event like the Olympics, it’s best to severely underestimate the number of facilities needed to accommodate the visitors. Apparently the businesspeople aren’t getting squeezed enough when it comes to taxes, so now they get to enjoy homeless people barricading themselves in the bathrooms and sleeping for thirteen hours.

The BIA was already helpful in getting public toilets installed in Vancouver, teaming up with local police and even something called the Vancouver Network of Drug Users. That’s some pretty interesting company they keep, and is probably the large reason why they are so motivated to keep the streets waste-free. This Charles Gauthier bugs me, too. He’s the executive director of the DVBIA, who thinks we need butlers in the bathrooms:

“[We're] also looking at the possibility of having a greeter at the front door to help get people into the right lineup, be it a washroom lineup or a lineup to get a beverage or a food item,” said Charles Gauthier, the association’s executive director.

Yes, on top of having to mop the floor, some kid at a fast food joint now has to direct people who can’t tell the obvious difference between the wait counter and a toilet. (Actual quote from Charles Gauthier: “And really, people are going to shoot drugs wherever they want.” It sure does sound like it, Charles.)

Maybe instead of imposing the matters of waste on the people of Vancouver, the Olympic planning committees should have to plan on their own a little better. Maybe also the DVBIA can take the side of its members for once and stop acting as an advocate for more accommodations to the homeless, the number one nuisance to businesses in Vancouver.

5 Responses to “Vancouver city of kings but short on thrones”

  1. Chris Says:

    Maybe they can follow the lead of their progressive cousin to the south, San Francisco, and let people shit in the streets.

  2. Nurse Kate Says:

    Having worked for the DVBIA, oh the stories I could tell you. My favorite being that their downtown ambassadors walk the streets all year round, yet ole’ Charles couldn’t be bothered to spring for waterproof uniforms. I really enjoyed walking around soaked and chilled to the bone asshole, thanks.

    As for the lack of washrooms, Vancouver is a green city and hence we like to extend that to our waste output. Like many Vancouverites, I have subcontracted my bowel functions to a small boy in south america. Because, as the environmental catholocism known as carbon credits has told us anything its that if you sell your pollution off to another country it doesn’t count.

    As for peeing, I still kept that. Sitting on the can is usually the only time I can steal a bite to eat at work, having cleverly secreted a rice krispie square in one of my many ginormous scrub pockets. Secrets of the trade.

  3. Nurse Kate Says:

    Whoops, pardon that unintelligible sentence. Tired on night shift.
    “Because as the environmental catholocism known as carbon credits has shown us, pollution shipped of to another country doesn’t count”.
    Man, I wish there was an edit function for when I do crap like that.

  4. Crystal Clear Says:

    Downtown Vancouver has been operating at a low level of anarchy for some time now. The local ‘police’ pretty much do nothing besides go to Starbucks and drive around aimlessly avoiding any kind law enforcement whatsoever. It will be very interesting to see what happens during the Games.

  5. Rocky Says:

    Nurse Kate, that was awesome! The waste situation here is so bad that some businesses have to flood back alleys just to get rid of the contamination. Crystal Clear, you’re dead on. Between the gangs, the homelessness and associated drugs, and the ridiculous housing prices, the place is set to collapse.

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