Visitor’s centre offers no late-evening respite
A woman says she has seen people publicly urinating around Cabot Tower's parking area. — Telegram file photo
Karen Noel and her family have been spending a lot of time on Signal Hill this summer, but the St. John’s woman isn’t impressed with the washroom policies at the national site.
The St. John’s woman said her eight-year-old daughter, who suffers kidney reflux, was recently refused use of the washroom inside Cabot Tower because she was told it was for staff only.
In the middle of a walk, Noel had to put the family in her van and go to a nearby grocery store to let the little girl, who is on medication to prevent recurrent infections, use the bathroom.
Besides the view and recent full moon, the family is drawn to the hill because they are trying to be more active.
The interpretation centre — halfway up the road to Cabot Tower — was closed at the time.
From mid-June to early September, the interpretation centre operates 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
Meanwhile, Noel said she’s seen people publicly urinating against the walls around the parking area.
“We have been kind of disappointed the last couple of times,” Noel said Monday, noting this past weekend was when she saw party vehicles pull up and some women go over the wall and urinate in public view.
“It didn’t look very good. … To have no washroom is unreal.
“The kids witnessed this, too. And here my youngest daughter eight years old was turned away from the gift store. … It’s discouraged me from wanting to go up there.”
She’s also seen men turn their backs on the public, but said it’s obvious what they are doing.
Noel said with all the tourists around, it’s embarrassing.
“To see people coming out of expensive limousines and urinating doesn’t say much for St. John’s,” Noel said.
She said she’s never walked the full hiking trail because of the lack of facilities.
In an email response, Parks Canada said the small washroom in the basement of Cabot Tower can’t be made available to the public because of accessibility issues and space limitations.
Various options have been considered to provide fully accessible washrooms in or near the tower, but there isn’t room in the historic structure and it would not be appropriate to add on to it, the email stated.
“An additional challenge is the lack of a water supply to the top of Signal Hill. All water used at the top of Signal Hill must be trucked and stored in tanks, making it impossible to ensure an adequate water supply for public washrooms at that location," spokesman Glenn Keough said in the email.