Letters to The Sun, June 5, 2021: Access to public washrooms on transit is an important issue

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Re: Dan Fumano: Lack of Broadway subway washrooms has advocate ‘pissed’

Never say the media, print or otherwise, doesn’t contribute an enormous service to community. So many important issues are raised — none more crucial than public washrooms for our transportation systems in Vancouver. The current lack of easily accessible public washrooms on SkyTrain and now the further oversight in 2021 for construction of the new Broadway subway is beyond belief.

Obviously, politicians and most decision-makers and engineers don’t step foot on public transportation in Vancouver. If they did, it might have occurred to them on a very personal level about the need for this essential service.

 Dianne Longson, Vancouver


The last few years I have been involved, along with many other people, in a TransLink feedback program. I was led to believe there would be “accessible” washrooms at the new subway stations. I am appalled at what you say TransLink will provide. I help formulate a seniors’ weekly walking group, and any walk put together has to be near a washroom facility — so most walks run concurrent with
washrooms in nearby parks.

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I cannot believe the powers that be have never travelled to European destinations where washroom facilities are provided, and mostly at a very low cost. I understand and have observed public washrooms being mistreated or used for ulterior motives, and I suspect this is one of the reasons they will not be accessible to the public. But if there was an attendant and a small fee — 25 cents to a dollar, even — this would go toward cleaning and safety.

I guess the powers that be don’t use public transit. Let them take a bus downtown to a station and then ride all the way to Surrey and see if they don’t have a problem. Kids that need washrooms need them now, and so do seniors as well as other transit users.

Carol Attenborrow, Vancouver

There must be accountability for this atrocity

Re: Remains of 215 children found at former Kamloops residential school: First Nation

There is nothing that can be said or written to describe the shame that all Canadians should feel for the treatment of Indigenous children and their families in regard to what was essentially forced detention in residential schools. The tributes and open displays of mourning by non-Indigenous citizens of Canada can in no way make up for the grievous transgressions that took place.

While it is easy to blame our respective provincial and federal officials for marginalizing the plight of Indigenous communities in so many issues — ranging from residential schools to clean water — we, collectively as a nation, need to demand that our elected and non-elected government officials make Indigenous grievances a sincere priority. In the end, all that is left to do is mourn.

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We hope that our leaders will do the right thing, but as a nation we must stop hoping and start demanding it. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says that the government will take concrete steps to support Indigenous families through this tragedy. Too little, too late. Innocent children were reduced to mere numbers, 215 of them before we openly acknowledged the tragedy. But superficial acknowledgment will no longer be enough. It never was enough. These children must have their identities returned to them. Their names should be on everyone’s tongues. Just as important, there must be accountability for this atrocity.

Reconciliation, “the restoration of friendly relations,” is becoming a worn-out concept, one that is bogged down in rhetoric and excuses. Our Indigenous communities don’t need “friendly” relations if we as a nation cannot deliver fair relations to their peoples.

Karl Marits, West Vancouver


Finding 215 graves of Indigenous children in Kamloops is no surprise. It is the inevitable result of forcibly removing young children from remote villages and lodging them in crowded, poorly heated premises and feeding them poorly. Residential schools were breeding grounds for disease, tuberculosis probably topping the list.

It is hard to visualize a greater trauma inflicted on both parents and communities of forcibly removing generations of children from their homes. In many cases, children did not survive their confinements, ending their lives in unmarked graves. Families and communities had no sense of closure, more questions than answers. What happened in Kamloops was replicated in dozens of other Canadian communities.

The final Truth and Reconciliation Report was issued over five years ago, but not a lot has changed. Words are cheap, freely given by leaders, but action is what is matters.

We cannot change the past. Only the present and the future can be changed.

John Shepherd, Richmond

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