The City of Vernon responded to frequent incidents of vandalism at downtown public washrooms by shortening their hours of operation, a move that now appears to have paid off.
Hours were cut at the transit terminal washroom on June 15, open only 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. from the original 7 a.m.-10 p.m. schedule.
The 24-hour washroom at 35th Street and 30th Avenue had its hours reduced to the same as well.
From March 1 to June 15, the transit terminal facility saw 32 calls for service related to vandalism. From June 15 to Oct. 15, following the hour reduction, just 10 calls for service were received.
The same trend occurred at the 30th Avenue washroom: 16 calls before the June 15 hour change versus just four calls after the change.
“Based on the data collected, it does appear that the change in operational hours has significantly reduced the occurrences of inappropriate behaviour at these facilities,” reads a memo by James Rice, director of operation services, which will be put before council Monday, Nov. 8.
The change in hours came after council learned one of the washrooms the transit terminal was significantly damaged after a fire was lit in it on June 3.
That cost the city $15,865 to repair.
Since the change in operational hours, just $1,670 has been spent on vandalism repairs at both locations.
Vernon’s downtown washrooms were vandalised 52 times in 2020, costing the city more than $42,000.
The city responded to those figures in February by cutting the hours of the two transit terminal toilets down from 24 hours to 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.