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Niagara-on-the-Lake
Sunday, October 2, 2022
Ross’s Ramblings: A proverbialplethora of Porta Potties is plaguingourpretty metropolis
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Yes, some of us have had way too much time on our hands during the ongoing deadly global pandemic. And my ramblings today may cause a parallel reaction to the strange result of learning a new word.

For the next month or so, that word seems to regularly pop up. We wonder, “How did I get this far in life without knowing that word?”

Back now to Porta Potties. Not bathrooms, latrines, water closets (W.C. Winston Churchill in the U.K,) crappers, johns, outhouses, privies, or powder rooms. Porta Potties!

Why has this topic wafted into this space? Perhaps because life is so visual and certain images seem to catch one’s eye.

Then, repeated impressions can create a “Dripping Water Torture” effect, which can play games with the mind. Drip, drip, drip on your forehead and eventually interrogators get the answers.

Just two years ago, a basic human right was taken away from many people as we reacted to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many coffee shops and restaurants put up signs on their front doors reading, “Toilets for Customers Only.”

Employees of local Avondales and gas stations were regularly verbally abused by desperate people pleading to use the men's and women's. God Bless Tim Hortons, which was always welcoming.

(By the way, let’s take a moment to thank our fabulous NOTL convenience store and gas station front-line workers.)

Long-distance truckers in Canada were forced to create alternate comfort stops as we figgered this problem out. Disaster.

And the Niagara Parks Commission. Ah, the Niagara Parks Commission. For at least the first six months of the pandemic, the commission didn’t cut the grass between Fort Erie and Niagara-on-the-Lake. Remember what a sorry sight that created? But good Canadians that we are, we understood.

Meanwhile, thousands upon thousands of people were seriously inconvenienced when the parks commission, an agency of the provincial government, closed all of its toilets between Fort Erie and NOTL. Many of us had had enough, and got upset. Or mad. Or agitated. Or ___ (you fill in the blank.)

Now, rambling back to Niagara-on-the-Lake. Driving into Old Town on Mississagua Street near the corner of John, on the left shoulder of the road, in front of a house under construction, a green Porta Potty has been placed within three or four feet of the road right of way. It has been there for several months now.

Same thing driving into Old Town from the west along Mary Street, near the corner of Dorchester. This unit is orange, and again, within a metre of the road. Sort of an eyesore, after three or four months.

Enjoy a drive around NOTL, and notice why I have a problem with this. Many municipalities have a bylaw (and we have no shortage of bylaws) stating that portable construction toilets must be located at least 30 feet from a roadway. Some classy towns, like Pinehurst, N.C.,  even state that temporary toilets must be camouflaged by tellisii or small cedar trees at least four feet high. This is detailed under their official Olfactory Bylaws.

Over now to Rye Street. A green construction Porta Potty, situated right at curbside, sports a laminated sign approximately reading, “This toilet is for the use of trades working at this site only.”

Talk about exclusionary. Such an attitude in a town that is making a conscious effort to become more diverse and inclusive?

OK, I am over rambling. I’ll call it a day and go for a walk.

By the way, is it just me, or are there a lot more people walking dogs lately? And couples and mini groups out walking? Where have Maureen Dickson and Shirley Rednall and their walkie talkie ladies been? I miss seeing, and hearing, them.

Stay healthy. Think positive. Test negative.