BVI News

Gov’t considering to impose fees to use public restrooms at select beaches

Vincent Wheatley

Government is exploring the option of imposing fees to use public restrooms at select beaches across the territory.

Minister of Natural Resources & Labour Vincent Wheatley said this is one of two alternative options being discussed by his ministry because the current maintenance cost to keep the facilities fully opened to the public daily is “not sustainable”.

“Inevitably, will become a burden on the public’s purse,” Wheatley said while speaking in the House of Assembly recently. 

“Consequently, this ministry is currently exploring the option of imposing a fee for the use of the facilities or the possibility of even having the management of these facilities become an entrepreneurial opportunity and will, therefore, put forward the necessary recommendations,” he explained.

If implemented, the minister said the fees would only be applied at beach restroom facilities for which his ministry is responsible.   

The ministry currently manages the restroom facilities at Great Harbour on Jost Van Dyke, Long Bay on Beef Island, and Cane Garden Bay on Tortola. Wheatley said his ministry is also making temporary provisions for portable facilities to be installed at Josiah’s Bay until construction efforts to the existing structure are completed.

Maintenance expenses too high

Minister Wheatley also stated that when the Great Harbour and Cane Garden Bay restroom facilities were transferred from the Health Ministry to his ministry in 2018, those facilities came with an annual maintenance budget of $4,000.

But in an effort to improve the restroom facilities at the locations, the budget received an additional $35,000, Wheatley said. However, he said the sum was still not sufficient as the maintenance expenses kept on rising.

“Unfortunately, these funds have been quickly consumed by costs relating to the rental of the portable facilities at Josiah’s Bay, repairs to all facilities, which have been steadily on the increase, and utility bills which have escalated,” Minister Wheatley explained.

Some facilities to remain closed

He also said that until an effective solution is determined, the Long Bay and Cane Garden restroom facilities will remain closed to the general public on days when there are no cruise ship calls to the territory.

“We were then informed that the facility at Cane Garden Bay was kept closed … due to the constant vandalism and an insufficient budget. This ministry has since made the restrooms available on weekends for functions, but ceased as the facility was too often left in a very untidy state, garbage bins went missing, and fixtures were constantly damaged,” Minister Wheatley stated.

He, however, said that the facility at Great Harbour currently remains open every day.

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37 Comments

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  1. LOL says:

    Well well….people will soon be doing their “business” in the bushes

    Like 21
    Dislike 1
    • Yup says:

      Amazing how the government talks about growing the tourist sector and then think of stupid crap to piss off the tourist. Why don’t the smart Belongers charge a fee to use the sun. Anyone realize that there are more tourist Friendly Islands elsewhere.

      • concerned says:

        Seemslike they better open them first!! I agree beg fortourists then give them fees at toilets, pot holed roads, water outage, sewr stink, no cable tv. etc. & I am sure they will return and tell their how wonderful the BVI is.

  2. lol says:

    Government goin squeeze the schitt outta v

    Like 22
    Dislike 2
  3. Anonymous says:

    Only open when cruise ships are in???
    What about the people who spend their vacations staying on the island, spreading their money around?

    Like 40
    Dislike 2
  4. Investment in Tourism says:

    Anyone who runs a business understands there are costs. Every nation worth their salt outlawed pay toilets sometime in the 60’s or 70’s. It’s a cost of doing business. Could you imagine charging customers to use the restroom at a restaurant? It is a hostile act, which will have negative impacts on our tourism products. Don’t allow this to happen.

    Like 42
    Dislike 3
  5. Really? says:

    Nice job if you can get it!……SMDH!!! put coin operated turnstiles and call it george!!! The Baths and Cane Garden Bay and possibly Long Bay Beef due to volume. But you have to wonder what the various fees are being collected for if not for upkeep of facilities.

    Like 11
    Dislike 1
  6. Windy says:

    How do you collect the fee? No one walks with coins. Are you going to have to hire a toilet sitter to get the money from those that have to go?

    Like 22
    • @Windy says:

      Tortola Pier Park bathrooms have been there OPEN TO THE PUBLIC for 4 years and they still look like the first day they opened. Why? PROPER MAINTENANCE! If people were serious about their jobs and held accountable, we won’t be here discussing this dummy idea.

      Like 23
      • Anonymous says:

        Different scenarios. Pier park has security and usually have frequent visitors. It would be hard to do the crap that you can get away with somewhere else.

      • Ummmmm says:

        Noone went there for four years because of all restrictions imposed. Thanks for removing the stumbling block.

  7. Caribbean Girl says:

    How has it increased from $4,000 to $35,000 yearly maintenance cost? These facilities I’ve seen opened recently. It doesn’t add up.

    Invest in 2 or 3 self cleaning facilities (booths) at stratigic points with easy access to water n power lines to have them working. These are all over European cities like Paris. You pay 1 Euro bc “when you got to go, you got to go” and you pay it.

    Public toilet facilities or lack of is a problem. Businesses don’t like individuals using their restrooms around Town. After complaining to Health and Enviromental Department, I learnt that there is no Public Policy to this regard. There should be one put in place soon.

  8. VIsLander says:

    If I had to pay to use a public restroom on a beach somewhere I went on vacation too, I would never go back.

    Like 19
    Dislike 2
    • think about it says:

      isn’t it a bit sad that you let a 25ct restroom on a beach decide if a place is a good place to celebrate your vacation?

      Don’t be a dramaqueen.

      Like 2
      Dislike 14
  9. Dman says:

    Really? How dumb can you be? Put up cameras, close at night, plant more bushes? To be a modern country you have to act like one.

    Like 18
  10. Tacky says:

    I visited Grenada recently and they do that at many of the tourist attractions. As a tourist I and many other tourist was insulted. Let’s not go there. It is low class behavior. We are bigger than that.

    Like 15
    Dislike 1
  11. Full Up says:

    Charge two dallors more to the departure tax to play to take a dump.

    Like 3
    Dislike 3
  12. Diaspora says:

    Charging for the use of public restrooms at select beaches is a bad idea. Government constructing and maintaining public restrooms is the cost of doing business. Tourism 1/2 of the economic twin pillars and the water (sand, sea and sun) is a major attraction for both land-and water-based tourists. And beaches are a major draw.

    As such, when nature calls, users both local and visitors should just be able to easily use public restrooms without having to worry about paying to go. What happens if either a tourist or local needs to go urgently but have no money on them (when you have to go, you have to go, especially for people with health issues)? Let the people go! Further, what is the alternative to not using for fee public restrooms? Bushes? For example, some large locales have toll roads but there is always a reasonable non-paying route. Dr. Hollis Urban Lester Liverpool, Chalkdust or Chalky, says : “No toilet in town for a man to spit.” Do we want this to become a social commentary in local Calypso competition?

    Moreover, true, it takes money to operate and maintain public restrooms. But as noted earlier, it is a cost of doing business. Consequently, government should use the general fund to operate and maintain the public restrooms. All beaches in the VI are open for public use so everyone, ie, locals and visitors should pay to operate and maintain them. Some revenue possible revenue sources are 1)beach parking permits (current sticker on windshields), 2) nominal fee on all driver licenses, 3) nominal beach maintenance fee for all visitors(can be paid with departure or security fee, 4) nominal fee on all property (land, buildings), 5)nominal beach use fee for all visitors ……….etc.

    Additionally, government should construct rest stop facilities at strategic points through the territory. Beach toilets and rest stops should be secured when the beach, parks…….etc closes for the day.

    Like 12
    • Political Observer (PO) says:

      “Moreover, true, it takes money to operate and maintain public restrooms. But as noted earlier, it is a cost of doing business.“ indeed. Though some locales may charge users a fee to use, restrooms, it is not good form or image for the BVI either for residents or visitors. There are modes, albeit indirect, for getting both residents and visitors to fund restrooms services. One source is from the unreserved fund. Other sources can be from those listed above. Let’s set scene for users to go to the beach and enjoy the beach, ie, walk on the beach, swim, snorkel, throw back a few adult beverages…….etc and if nature calls the biggest concern should be finding the restroom.

  13. Dushiegirl. says:

    They going to do it in sea float on top. Not a good idea Min

    Like 2
    Dislike 1
  14. Vandalism says:

    The few always spoil it for the many. I’m pretty sure that it is not the tourists who are vandalising the public rest rooms. Most countries will clean / inspect and close the restrooms overnight to deter anti social behaviour, but the rest rooms should be open every day at least 10am to 6pm in a tourist destination. With regard to charging for the use of facilities, this is commonplace throughout Europe (50c) and does not stop the tourists from visiting if the facilities are well maintained.

    Like 2
    Dislike 1
  15. just a thought says:

    Great idea but who is going to be responsible for the money when people are no longer honest?

  16. Wow says:

    Government broke??

  17. Smh says:

    I will find a tree to go under. Money money money is the cause of evil.soon we will have to pay to walk the street depending on the location

  18. Good grief says:

    Utility bills? Install solar paneld

  19. My my says:

    Everything is just money. What this place is coming to. Good Jesus

  20. To Many Free Rid says:

    During the 1960s when we decided to experiment with Tourism We gave concessions Left and Right (hotel Aid, Duty Free on imports etc)….without time limits. As if those weren’t enough we forgave Land Transfer Tax to some investors; especially to those on Virgin Gorda. We also allowed said investors to acquire Trade Licenses to provide some services; including building materials. Yet those investors are still sticking to paying the mere $6.00; some being in business since the 60s.
    QUESTION: Every business needs employees in order to carry out its business. Why then are we giving all these concessions to business for providing something they absolutely need?
    Investors are given to many Free Rides; without them paying their fair share; (or making any contributions to Public Causes.
    Lower Government Operating Costs: 339-million is an unreasonable operating budget for a mere 35 thousand population. Previous Financial Secretary several years ago advised government the oversized Civil Service could be reduced by as much as 50% with government
    still operating efficiently.

  21. ?? says:

    “Inevitably, will become a burden on the public’s purse”

    Are they serious???? After spending MILLIONS of tax payers money on foolishness?

  22. Socrates says:

    1. Is this a trial balloon to see how people will respond?

    2. Should politicians be careful about trial balloons?

    3. Is government playing from a coordinated play book or master plan?

    4. Is each minister seemed to be acting singularly for popularity?

    5. Does the BVI wants the reputation of residents and visitors having to pay to use toilets at public beaches?

    6. Does it drag down the BVI rep on the reputation meter?

    7. Is this trial balloon a “winging it” approach to governing?

  23. Mike says:

    The taxes on tourists is already to high. Charging for restrooms will just drive away more visitors.

  24. Think This Through says:

    But the goverment already collecting $10.00 for every visitor for the enviromental tax,so question is what is it going towards. please don’t run the visitors from here.

  25. How about says:

    Just considering hiring bathroom monitors instead that check the stalls right after people have left so they can easily pin point them and call them out. Charging people to use public restrooms is a bit nonsensical.

  26. mmmario says:

    Amen to that but they better be spanking clean when I visit them.

  27. NPolitico says:

    Did the Hon V. Wheatley, R9, MNRLI, mean direct on site payment by patrons to use restrooms? If so bad idea. The restrooms maintenance must be funded but not thru direct of service of service charge. Instead, the funding should be indirect and off site. For example, everyone uses the road and funding comes from general revenue. To my knowledge, there is no direct road design, construction and maintenance fee. Restrooms maintenance can be funded similarly or specific fees can be assessed on property, vehicle registration, sales tax, natural resources/beach management fee…….etc.

  28. mmmario says:

    So you want to use a public restroom and not have to pay for it….have you lost your mind? who is going to pay to clean it not everyone uses restroom the way they should, there are some nasty people out there that will careless who will clean it after them???? Best to charge to pay for someone to clean it so every time someone has to use it it is always clean.

  29. Frigup says:

    Better reconsider…

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