November 21, 2006 When you’ve gotta go, you’ve gotta go – particularly when you’ve had a bellyful of alcohol. Given that using alcohol to great excess is a modern rite of passage and deeply rooted tradition of most societies, and that more of it gets consumed in nightlife districts, such precincts are often an ugly sight the next morning, with urine, vomit and the occasional sleeping body often found in public places. Most modern cities have developed a night time economy which is positive for a city. On the other hand, one of the top three concerns resulting from a lively night time economy is related to street urination. More public toilets might meet the needs of the nightlife but they’re an eyesore for the residents, so the latest in high tech toilets might be the ideal solution. In an effort to handle its night time public urination problem, Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, is considering installing urinals that disappear below street level during the day according to John Chow. The urinals are not new, having been introduced in Europe in 2000, but they are novel, disappearing during the day and popping out of the ground in the evening to meet the needs of the nocturnal.

There are two variants of the now-you-see-it, now-you-don’t toilet, with and without privacy and a third which looks the same as the disappearing toilet but doesn’t disappear. Fortuitously, the Urilift is designed so that the punters can’t ride up and down in them or lock their friends inside for a laugh or anything other than just normal toilet business. Good idea though, as the design can also be used for regular temporary situations such as catering to the once-a-week needs of a crowded local market. Distributors can be found in all key Northern European markets but there’s an opportunity in almost all other areas - enquiries here.

The Dutch seem to have a thing about toilets, being the originators of the P-Mate and the Kros.

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