Bath­room break...down?

The Bras d'or Yacht Club has long been con­sid­ered a place for mem­bers of the pub­lic to go when they, well... have to go. How­ever, bus­loads of tourists pulling up to the Bras d'or Yacht Club for a bio-break this sum­mer may have to look else­where. The Villa

The Victoria Standard - - Front Page - AN­DREW BROOKS

The most sought-af­ter tourist site this sum­mer in Bad­deck might be a place to re­lieve one­self un­less a sus­tain­able fund­ing model can be se­cured for wash­rooms at the Bras d’or Yacht Club (BYC).

The ground level bath­rooms have long been open to the pub­lic, but the club says the cost of main­te­nance and up­keep have con­trib­uted to the or­ga­ni­za­tion op­er­at­ing in the red.

“Our mem­ber­ship has given us a man­date to make those pub­lic ac­cess wash­rooms cost­neu­tral or we're go­ing to close them for the sea­son. They will be closed in May if we can't find enough fund­ing part­ners to keep them open,” said BYC Com­modore Eileen Wood­ford via tele­phone March 25.

Wood­ford said ap­prox­i­mately 50,000 vis­i­tors used the wash­rooms last year be­tween May and Oc­to­ber. Of the to­tal, the yacht club es­ti­mates 23% of those vis­i­tors were club pa­trons or users, while the re­main­der came in from the sur­round­ing area solely to use the fa­cil­i­ties. That’s 38,500 pub­lic flushes ac­cord­ing to their math. Wood­ford said that amounted to op­er­at­ing costs last sea­son of nearly $13,000. Cur­rently, she es­ti­mates a short­fall of $6500 to the op­er­at­ing bud­get. To make mat­ters worse, the fa­cil­ity needs im­prove­ments to its ven­ti­la­tion sys­tem and ac­ces­si­bil­ity for phys­i­cally chal­lenged in­di­vid­u­als.

Af­ter the Mu­nic­i­pal­ity of the County of Vic­to­ria County agreed to con­trib­ute $2,000 this year, Wood­ford pre­sented the club’s con­cerns to the Vil­lage of Bad­deck Com­mis­sion at the Fe­bru­ary 14 monthly meet­ing. She con­firmed that crowds from the Cabot Trail Re­lay Race and the Celtic Colours Fes­ti­val were in­cluded in the club’s por­tion of users cal­cu­lated. Chair Brian Mor­ri­son asked to de­fer a de­ci­sion on a Com­mis­sion con­tri­bu­tion un­til ab­sent Com­mis­sion­ers (Macrae and Hen­drick­son) could be present.

At the March 14 meet­ing, Mor­ri­son said an ex­am­i­na­tion of past fund­ing con­ducted by Trea­surer/clerk Erin Bradley and him­self showed that the Vil­lage has given the yacht

club more than $20,000 since 2004. That amount ap­peared to be jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for his rec­om­men­da­tion to grant the club $1500 for the 2018 sea­son with the un­der­stand­ing that the Vil­lage would dis­con­tinue any con­tri­bu­tions in the fu­ture.

“It gives them one last year with the full un­der­stand­ing that that’s the end of the fund­ing, that’s the end of the road,” said Mor­ri­son at the March 14 meet­ing.

Com­mis­sion­ers then unan­i­mously voted in favour of such a mo­tion.

The only other wash­rooms read­ily avail­able to tourists are at the Bad­deck Pub­lic Li­brary and the back side of the Vic­to­ria County Wel­come Cen­tre at the other end of town.

Like many or­ga­ni­za­tions, the mem­ber­ship of the club has been de­clin­ing in re­cent years. What fi­nan­cial bur­den may have been ab­sorbed by club mem­bers in the past is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult for them to do so.

Over the years, both the Mu­nic­i­pal­ity of the County of Vic­to­ria and the Vil­lage of Bad­deck have con­trib­uted funds to help re­pair and main­tain the wash­rooms. The wash­rooms in­curred a sig­nif­i­cant ren­o­va­tion in 2004 that tripled their ca­pac­ity.

Wood­ford is hope­ful that part­ner­ships can still be struck to keep the fa­cil­ity open to the pub­lic and said she is sad­dened as a res­i­dent to even imag­ine the idea of them clos­ing.

“It's a key point of our com­mu­nity - the water­front - al­most ev­ery­one who comes to our com­mu­nity goes there. We're happy to try to pro­vide some sup­port, but we can't do it alone,” said Wood­ford.

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