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Monday, January 30, 2023
Letter: No public toilets for Navy Hall visitors

Dear editor:

We are writing to you and copying our contacts at Parks Canada and the Niagara-on-the-Lake town council.

It has always been a pleasure for us to enjoy a “front row seat” at the gatherings held on the parkland adjoining Navy Hall.  

Over the few years that we have lived beside the park, we have conversed with hundreds of visitors to our community.

 We have offered suggestions to these travellers for restaurants, wineries and places of interest when asked to provide them. Weekends were especially festive during the summer months, as there were often weddings held on the site, and who can resist witnessing a wedding ceremony?

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed everything. Unlike the other public outdoor spaces within our town that have reopened for visitation from the public, Navy Hall, which is overseen by the federal government, has no open toilet facilities.

It also has no staff presence on the weekends. It is a federal facility within the confines of the municipality of Niagara-on-the-Lake. As such we are all stakeholders in this dilemma.

Over the past several months during the many stages of “emergency” in our town, we have witnessed a frightening disregard for propriety and decency.

Large groups of visitors start arriving at the park as early as 6 a.m. to claim their shaded area of picnic ground along the water’s edge, and they often do not leave until late afternoon.  

Our beautiful destination area is being turned into a public toilet. During the past weeks we have observed many visitors urinating, defecating and disposing feminine hygiene and other paper products at the river’s edge.  

The small shoreline corner of our property that borders the park has a steady lineup of men who leave their fishing poles at the Navy Hall dock and walk over to relieve themselves. We cannot avoid seeing these instances from most vantage points in our home.

In reopening our town to visitors and tourism with the obvious benefits to our economy, there also needs to be appropriate oversight of same.  

Until this oversight can be provided routinely, we respectfully suggest that this facility return to restricted access.

Nancy and Fred Ross


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