Ontario Parks finds no takers to build Wasaga washrooms

Ontario Parks will be back to the drawing board after a second effort to find a contractor to rebuild the washrooms at New Wasaga and Allenwood had no takers.

The province had requested bids in March; a second submission was published in May with a closing date of June 15 and a construction start date of Sept. 10.

Ontario Parks director Bruce Bateman confirmed no one responded to either bid.

“We are currently reviewing our options regarding next steps,” he stated in an email to Simcoe.com, noting Ontario Parks has “worked collaboratively with municipal staff to develop options for improving the washroom facilities, and we are pleased that design plans have been finalized.

“Ontario Parks recognizes the importance of Wasaga Beach Provincial Park and the recreational and economic benefits it provides to the local area.”

That may not be comfort to either visitors to the beach or nearby residents, noted Simcoe-Grey MPP Jim Wilson, who promised during the provincial election campaign to make the reconstruction of the washrooms a priority.

“On muggy days, the smell is unbelievable when your cottage is literally a few yards away.

Wilson said he’s already been in the ear of the new Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, Jeff Yurek, to advance the issue.

“I took five minutes to explain it to him (prior to their first cabinet meeting) and he couldn’t believe it. It’s definitely a priority,” Wilson said. “He said he’ll look into it and get back to me … I don’t understand why (a company) wouldn’t want to do this project.

“Some people think it’s funny when we mention (vault privies) down here, but it’s not funny when you’re trying to enjoy a day at the beach. It’s affecting our tourism business.”

Coun. Ron Ego, , said there may be an opportunity for the municipality and Ontario Parks to work together on seeking a contractor.

Ego said he hoped that could open the job up to a broader range of contractors — which might make it more likely that someone would submit a bid.