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Guelph considering outdoor urinals Add to ...

Guelph is considering installing open-air urinals to combat problems of public urination and address complaints from partiers who say they have nowhere to go.

For years, the southwestern Ontario city has struggled with the unpleasantness of weekend revellers relieving themselves in the streets. City officials are now thinking about following the lead of cities like Amsterdam, London and Victoria, which have outfitted some public spaces with urinals.

Some have complained that the problem is partially being fuelled by businesses closing down their washrooms well before last call.

Some restaurants have taken to transforming from sit-down establishments to strictly takeout operations during late-night weekend hours to get around provincial regulations that require restaurants to provide public lavatories.

One local business owner said he has closed his washroom through evening hours after too many hassles and repairs to damaged property.

"About a year ago, two girls went in there and tore the sink out of the wall," causing about $800 in damage, said David Dietz, co-owner of a Pita Pit store.

"Who do you think paid for that? The city? Yeah, right."

An alley across from Mr. Dietz's store is commonly used as a makeshift washroom, and on one recent night, at least seven men and one woman were spotted relieving themselves there during a 90-minute period.

"What are people supposed to do?" said 23-year-old John Valens as he waited for his girlfriend to come out of a restaurant.

Mr. Valens, a regular downtown patron, said while he generally tries not to urinate in public, he has done so in the past.

"You try to be sort of discreet and not go where everyone can see you."

Mr. Valens admits he would likely not use the open-air toilets because they would be "kind of in the open," and he doesn't relish the thought of sharing a communal urinal in full view of others.

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