2017-07-27 / Front Page

OOB lacks bathrooms

By Grant McPherson
Staff Writer

OLD ORCHARD BEACH – Residents and business owners in Old Orchard Beach are once again bemused by the lack of public restrooms available for beachgoers along the shore. Visitors to the beach have been spotted going to the bathroom in locals’ backyards, the dunes and the ocean. Restrooms located just off the beach on West Grand Avenue cost 50 cents to use.

Assistant Town Manager V. Louise Reid said Town Manager Larry Mead is aware of the situation, working to address it and did not wish to comment at this time.

Old Orchard Beach resident Paulette Thibodeau can see the dunes from her home on the corner of Union and Seaside and has seen people urinating there as well as in the bushes behind her neighbor’s house. Two weeks ago a woman walked into Thibodeau’s house thinking it was a hotel. Thibodeau said her house is clearly a one story private home.

“People have a couple drinks on the beach and you don’t know what they’re going to do,” she said.

Thibodeau said the woman seemed embarrassed and that it was most likely an honest mistake. She said a man did the same thing last year while Thibodeau was talking to a contractor on her deck. The man walked onto the porch without asking and Thibodeau’s contractor had to ask him to leave.

“We need public restrooms on the beach,” she said.

A few years ago Thibodeau was sitting on the bench when a man started going to the bathroom behind her in broad daylight. She took a picture of him and sent it to Mead in an effort to highlight the need for public restrooms but never got a response.

“It’s all I can do,” Thibodeau said.

Thibodeau understands that oceanfront property owners may not want port-a-potties on the beach. She said the restrooms by the dog park in Memorial Park are nice and she’d like to see something like that around where she lives closer to Ocean Park. She said right now those are the closest public bathrooms for visitors.

“If a little kid has to go, or someone has been drinking all day, they are not going to walk downtown to go to the bathroom,” Thibodeau said.

Sheri Tripp, owner of Mocean Surf Shoppe, said this problem has persisted the last 15 years and she is tired of having to bring attention to the issue.

“We love this town, and we are proud residents,” Tripp said in an email. “It’s time Old Orchard Beach provided bathrooms to its hundreds of thousands of guests and families and not force them to go in the ocean, dunes and behind residences and businesses. It’s just not right.”

Contact Staff Writer Grant McPherson at news@inthecourier.com.

Return to top