GottaGo! campaigners cheer new public-toilet apps

Ottawa Citizen, March 31, 2016
Matthew Pearson

Joan Kuyek, the woman leading the campaign to create a network of free and accessible public washrooms in Ottawa says she’s “absolutely thrilled” with the new tools available to people in search of a place to go pee.

“We’re really excited,” said Joan Kuyek, chair of the GottaGo! campaign. “It gives us what we need in terms of knowing what’s in the city and knowing what else needs to happen to create a really good network. We didn’t have that before.”

GottaGo! campaigners cheer new public-toilet apps

City council voted last September to compile and publish data about public washrooms so third-party web developers could create an app to map out the locations.

The city collected data on 190 washrooms in its own buildings and also noted such things as the availability of baby-changing tables, building hours of operation and level of accessibility. After translating the information into French, the city released the data in February.

It also published the locations on its website via a city-built mobile-friendly map and its In My Neighbourhood portal.

Developer Kevin O’Donnell used the data to create the web application, which works on any device, while two mobile apps, Bathroom Scout and Toilet Finder, have uploaded the Ottawa data.

Meanwhile, the city is working on a paper version of the public washrooms map, to be published later this year.

Because there are now multiple options for the public to find out where toilets are, the city won’t create its own app, city staff told councillors at Wednesday’s IT subcommittee meeting.

Kuyek said she’s pleased the city has taken steps to gather and publish data on the public washrooms that currently exist, but added more facilities are needed.

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