Automated Pay Toilets & Public Space Monetization
Automated Public Washrooms
Part of the Waterfront District's Final plan is to upgrade and expand public washrooms around the beach area. Why not have a two-tier system? In addition to the free public washrooms that are already there, if new ones are going to be built, it could be beneficial to offer tourists and residents a choice - free or automated pay toilets. After travelling Europe, I wondered why APTs (automated pay toilets) weren't as popular here. It is very common to see APTs everywhere in Europe.
The reality is, in the summer, Cobourg's beach gets really really busy. I have often seen queues of fifty or more people waiting to use the public washrooms at the canteen area by the beach. If you really had to go, or you wanted to skip the queue, wouldn't you throw 0.25 cents or a $1 into an automated pay toilet? I would!
Toronto has had automated washrooms for years now. The concept is simple. It's a climate controlled, permanent, free-standing, wheelchair accessible and self cleaning structure that is locked until you pay the fee to get in. Once you're in, you have the washroom to yourself for a set amount of time.
The advantages are:
- unlike conventional static washrooms, they make money
- they are self-cleaning cutting down on costly cleaning services
- they offer ad space
You can see one in action here:
Monetization of Public Spaces
Astral Outdoor Advertising has an agreement with the city of Toronto to monetize these public structures and other ones in the city (such as bus shelters) by placing ads on them. I have reached out to Astral Outdoor Advertising to clarify exactly how their monetization program functions, as from what I have read, it's my understanding that they paid for the public washroom facility mentioned above to get the advertising placement rights on them.
I believe these are two issues the Town of Cobourg needs to talk about - in particular, using automated systems and monetizing public structures and spaces with advertising to pay for the expensive Waterfront District Plan thereby keeping municipal taxes stable. These are the kind of ideas I would like to bring to council and believe I could convincingly argue why Cobourg would be an ideal location for outdoor advertising and APTs. There certainly seems to be a market for these ideas: