Urilift Latest Weapon In Fight Against Late-Night City 'Watering'
New urinal reaches out to answer nature's call
Urilift latest weapon in fight against late-night city 'watering'
Chris Cobb CanWest News Service Monday, April 25, 2005
It may be a primal thing, or simply because nature has made it easy, but it's a fact that most people who pee in the street, up walls, in stairwells or in any other public place, are male.
Why? Who knows? Probably because they can.
If a fellow gets stuck with a full bladder and no available toilet, it's simple and convenient for said fellow to unzip and relieve himself and he will not think twice about doing so. It's OK during treks into the wild, of course, but in an urban setting it's disgusting and smelly.
Which is why the city fathers in Aberdeen, Scotland are about to invest in something called Urilift, a telescopic urinal that emerges erect out of the ground on hydraulic cylinders when it's most needed and retracts tidily into smallness when the needs of the populace have subsided. They say it will go a long way to solving the chronic problem of "indiscriminate urination."
"We have a very active night scene here," says Gordon McIntosh, the City of Aberdeen's Director of Neighbourhood Service for Aberdeen Centre. "We have a high concentration of night spots -- clubs and pubs all over city centre -- and at two in the morning, there can be 10,000-12,000 people walking around and many of them have consumed large amounts of alcohol. It can be a particular problem for those who've been drinking pints of beer."
Indiscriminate urination has become such a problem among the staggering classes that they won't think twice about using urban gardens as their toilet.
City staff using a remote-control handset will operate the Urilift, a high-tech version of the old-fashioned but stinky ****oirs common in countries such as France and Belgium. The Aberdeen plan is to have two of them appear in the downtown area on Fridays and retract on Sunday morning. Being telescopic, they can be accommodated in shallow silos.
The Urilift is connected directly to sewers, and when it's at rest during the day, it looks like any other manhole cover. Even better, it cleans itself using high-powered water jets. Two Urilifts cost about $200,000.
As in most Canadian cities, Aberdeen cafes and restaurants actively discourage non-customers using their facilities. But in the early hours of the morning, existing options are limited to a few chronically vandalized public conveniences or somebody else's backyard.
Aberdeen has a resident population of around 200,000, plus 30,000 students attending two universities, plus visitors in town for a good night out. It all adds up to a lot of indiscriminate urination.
Some locals are clearly suspicious about these space-age cylinders emerging from the underworld on a Friday night. The city council has been asked whether there is a chance the rising ****oir might hit passers-by on its way up or, even worse, possibly suffer some hideous technical error and carry unzipped patrons down to middle earth. Others have quietly questioned the wisdom of importing what is clearly a French-inspired invention. As if peeing in someone else's garden at three in the morning is somehow the better option.
Proud Aberdeen has won numerous civic awards, both national and international, and is concerned that indiscriminate urination might adversely affect its image.
"It just isn't acceptable in this day and age," says McIntosh.
The space-age ****oirs, already a proven success in Dublin and a few other European cities, are designed for men, but Aberdeen officials are interested in buying at least one unisex model.
It seems that while this is predominantly a guy's offensive habit, some women aren't above a spot of indiscriminate urination either.
© Times Colonist (Victoria) 2005
What will they think of next, those Wily Scotsman? :D