Coquitlam residents raise stink about Burnaby 'outhouse'

A Coquitlam couple says it can handle parking and litter issues related to the Burnaby park across the street from their home but the stink from a bathroom is the last straw.

In a letter to Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan, Tom and Josie Reamsbothom said they've raised concerns over the problem to Burnaby's parks department for the past couple of years to no avail.

The Reamsbothoms live on North Road in Coquitlam, across the street from Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area. It's generally a positive attribute for the neighbourhood, they said, except for the toilet right across the road "in full view and smell from residential areas in Port Moody and Coquitlam."

"We have tried to put up with that and accommodate to it since we already live with the parking and litter problems associated with the park," they wrote.

The couple enjoys using the park, "which compensates for the problems involved but the outhouse/toilet is the straw that broke the camel's back."

Addressing Corrigan, they wrote: "I invite you to visit us on a nice, sunny day, come sit with us on our sundeck, enjoy a nice cool drink and be driven indoors by the stink from your outhouse."

A city staff response to the letter presented to the Burnaby parks commission confirmed they are aware of the problem.

"Staff have worked very hard to address these concerns, including modifying the washroom ventilation system, modifying our waste-collection schedule and other measures," staff said. "None of these efforts has satisfactorily addressed the odour issues, particularly when the volume of use increases in summer and when the temperature increases."

Burnaby parks director Dave Ellenwood said by email that the toilet is not a "port-a-potty" but rather a prefabricated structure, about six feet by six feet, with a large tank underneath that is emptied more frequently in summer than in winter.

"This one will be moved further west along the service road/trail into the conservation area," Ellenwood said. "It should take a couple of months to dismantle the structure at the existing location, restore the existing location to its original state, excavate for the tank at the new location and prepare the site, move the structure and clean up both locations."

The exact timing of the move will depend on a number of factors including weather and equipment availability.

— By Wanda Chow


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