Birch Bay cans central bathroom
Due to complaints made by Marine Cove residents and area businesses, there will be no public restrooms in the Birch Bay center public beach area this year.
Birch Bay Chamber President Nick Jerns said residents and business owners were concerned that the portable restrooms were attracting a large number of teenagers, and that the facility in the beach area was used primarily for drugs.
The rest of the bathrooms will be returning this summer, including the seasonal temporary facility on Jackson Road and the beach�s only permanent restroom, which is on Alderson Road.
Jerns said that although the beach will only be short by one restroom this year, the problem is that the restroom missing was the most used. Because it was located in the central area of the beach, which is a very popular spot for tourists, visitors often used that bathroom.
�You�ve got the largest stretch of public beach, and it�s the most visible of all of them,� Jerns said.
Although the bathroom�s central location was convenient, he said, it also made it an eyesore to the community.
�We can�t continue to have a neon green or even a tan facility out in the middle of the beach,� he said. �It�s not exactly a welcome mat.�
Jerns stated he was not aware of any complaints that the bathroom had been removed, and said that most people seemed glad it was gone. The bathroom had been occasionally vandalized and was even lit on fire two years ago. Jerns said residents were also concerned that the restrooms would be pushed over and the waste would spill into the bay.
The chamber of commerce had no plans to reinstall another temporary facility in its place, Jerns said, but that in the future, a permanent facility in the same area may be an option. If a permanent bathroom was built in that area, it could be combined with a visitors center.
Jerns said the chamber of commerce and the Birch Bay steering committee would be the groups that would work together to get the project started, but that he saw the project developing into a separate group altogether.
�I don�t foresee a shortage of volunteers,� Jerns said of the community�s willingness to become involved.