by Steve Carroll
For thousands of years when nature calls, you gotta go and over the years not much has changed in this respect. Where we go and and how we go has changed.

Each summer hundreds of visitors and residents frequent the path leading to Rockland’s historic breakwater. Some of our guests find that they have to go, but where?

This was brought to public attention recently through the generous donation of $50,000 by a concerned citizen. Not wishing this goodwill to go to waste, the city council decided to match the donation, so there is now $100,000 of public and private money to find a solution.

There is no question we need a toilet at the breakwater park. To ignore this situation would really stink, but to spend $100,000 or more for a toilet that will be used maybe five months each year? Is this the best use of taxpayer funds?

Do we simply just flush our troubles away, or is there another possible solution? City officials say water on the site is readily available and connection to the city sewer is “not a big expense.” Why so much? Apparently a great deal of the cost lies in meeting city and state regulations and the type of construction necessary.

Perhaps this would be a good time to open a discussion on the city’s burdensome regulations. Let’s look at necessary and unnecessary regulations. We should discuss various construction standards and building options like wood or concrete.

Wisely, the city council has decided to vet this process through various committees and public input. This will give us time to have a frank and open discussion on all possible options. With so many needs within the city and demands on our already overstretched budget, we all need to decide if this facility can be built at a lower cost.

Let’s keep in mind this is only a summertime toilet. In the months ahead various ideas and plans will be discussed. Please become part of this discussion. Let’s look at other more environmentally conscious options.

Perhaps composting, a holding tank, or solar venting. Water usage has not been much of an issue in New England, but someday in the not too distance future water usage may become an issue. Environmental activism starts at this level. I hope many will participate in this discussion – it is important we all get involved.

Many in the older generation reflect fondly on the days when we would visit Grampa’s outhouse. Those days are gone, but let’s not forget the simple ways of the past, and let’s try to learn how to implement simple and inexpensive solutions in the future.

Steve Carroll is a Rockland native, the owner of Carrolls Appliance Service, and one of the founders of WRFR. This Wednesday evening from 5 to 6 PM on WRFR, Steve will be joining the conversation on possible solutions for the toilet at the breakwater park. All are invited to participate, either by joining us in the studio, by calling in to 593-0013 during the show, or by emailing ideas to joe@interhuman.org before the show.