Tennis Yukon raises stink over city leaving it to pay for its own outhouse

This summer, users of the Mount McIntyre Recreation Centre might have to be creative when answering nature's call.

This summer, users of the Mount McIntyre Recreation Centre might have to be creative when answering nature’s call.

That’s because the city of Whitehorse is no longer providing an outhouse free of charge to the public and users of the facility.

Based on its lease agreement, Tennis Yukon has to take on the responsibility of the outhouse.

And with the tennis season looming, the association’s president is worried about the potential impact of not having an outhouse in close proximity to its courts.

“Our concern is that people would use the hill, and the area around the parking lot,” said Stacy Smith.

“They’ll need a toilet and they’ll just use the bushes. We’re not talking about one person in the middle of the woods.

“It would be several people a day doing this – it’s going to become disgusting.”

In May 2014, the city decided it could no longer afford to pay for an outhouse at Mount McIntyre.

It gave notice to Tennis Yukon and provided the outhouse until the end of the 2014 season.

But Smith concedes she forgot about the conversation until the city recently reminded her of the association’s responsibility for the outhouse.

“I would say we did not appreciate the certainty of that and did not spend the winter working with the Mount McIntyre recreation area user groups on a substitute,” she said in an email.

Based on two quotes Smith has received so far, the cost for renting an outhouse over the summer ranges from $1,265 to $1,512.

She put out a call to user groups such as the Active Trails Whitehorse Association, Athletics Yukon, Boreale Mountain Biking and others to try and raise funds to rent one this summer.

Tennis Yukon has already pledged roughly half of the cost, or $600, to get the ball rolling.

Those are funds that would otherwise go towards equipment or improving the courts, Smith said.

“Our season starts at the beginning of May and that means kids, and camps, and lessons, and it needs to be in place,” she said.

“I don’t want to spend two months talking about this and risk jeopardizing our season.”

Smith says there are bathrooms available inside the recreation centre, which isn’t always open, or at the Canada Games Centre down the hill.

“But people won’t go there,” she said.

“I don’t think it’s right that one group bears the expense for the whole community.”

Doug Hnatiuk, supervisor of outreach and events, said the city receives numerous requests for outhouses in and around public areas within the city.

But it has to identify key areas where the general public “may be inconvenienced if there isn’t a toilet or outhouse opportunity.”

It was the assessment of the city’s parks department that the outhouse would be better used elsewhere, he added.

“We only have a finite sum of money available and we typically look for areas which are being utilized by a majority of the public,” he said.

“We typically do not provide outhouse services for community organizations that are having activities, like the tennis club, who is leasing an area.

“The city is in no way trying to disparage the tennis association, but we did give them ample notice.”

Contact Myles Dolphin at

myles@yukon-news.com