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Surrey council awards $432K contract for two public loos for homeless people

A corporate report sets the expenditure limit at $432,286.77 for the two outdoor washrooms in Whalley
A Portland Loo, described as “A Unique Solution to a Universal Problem.” (Image:

Surrey council awarded a $432,286.77 contract on Wednesday to Madden Fabrication to supply two Portland Loo public washrooms in Whalley to support “populations at risk.”

A corporate report sets the expenditure limit at $432,286.77 for the two outdoor washrooms, which will be located at Surrey Memorial Hospital and at 13633 Grosvenor Road, and identifies them as “a critical need for people experiencing homelessness.

“The limited supply of public washrooms in the community leads to public urination and resulting hygiene concerns in public spaces, compromising health and creating a public safety and health concern for the community,” the report reads. “COVID-19 has further restricted access to public washrooms for populations at-risk. Surrey Memorial Hospital and Surrey City Centre are high impact areas with a large population of people experiencing homelessness without access to washrooms.”

The report notes that Madden Fabrication, Inc. is “currently the sole manufacturer” of Portland Loos based in Portland, Oregon. A janitorial company will be contracted to provide daily cleaning and restocking of the public toilet at 13633 Grosvenor Road and Fraser Health will manage the one at Surrey Memorial Hospital.

They’re made of “highly durable” heavy-gauge stainless steel wall panels with an anti-graffiti coating and open louvers at the bottom and top to permit public safety officials to determine how many people are inside “while still providing privacy to patrons.”

The prefabricated loos will be open 24/7 and come equipped with handwashing stations outside to discourage people from “lingering inside for too long” and washing themselves or their clothes, the city report says, as well as a blue light inside that’s “intended to deter needle use as the light makes it difficult to find veins. An “optional” alarm would unlock the door every 15 minutes to discourage people from sleeping inside the washrooms overnight.

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About the Author: Tom Zytaruk

I write unvarnished opinion columns and unbiased news reports for the Surrey Now-Leader.
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