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posted December 10, 2006

The Bio-toilet Project

This past summer and fall a small but hard-working group of bio-toilet opponents delivered house-to-house flyers that described the new playground toilet as a “cesspool” built with the help of “child labour.” The same folks also e-mailed their views to all of the City councillors and many heads of City divisions. The down side of that opposition was that the bio-toilet project was stalled over and over again. So only the foundation got built (but it’s a great foundation) before cold weather came.

The up side was that there was more and more detailed debate in the park about the merits/demerits of alternative ways to deal with sewage. Park users already know an amazing amount, and this winter they can upgrade their education even more. There will be displays about the project, press clippings from other parts of the world, and – hopefully – some postings by opponents, making for some lively hot-stove discussions.

Certainly there’s more material in the press now almost every week. It turns out that the largest Japanese zoo has had bio-toilets for some time (and very clean – the Japanese are famously fastidious). A town in Saskatchewan introduced the bio-ioilets and won a “2005 Sustainable Community Award” from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Partners for Climate Protection Network. World Watch Institute’s latest newsletter praises them as “the ultimate in treating waste as a resource.” We thought we were pioneers, but evidently not.

Both of these displays are a preparation for a City-run all-neighbourhood meeting about these issues in February or March (just when everyone is getting tired of winter and wants to think about playgrounds and gardens).

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