Saint John — This summer, the Port City is hoping that visitors to will help put the “p” in “phosphorus.”
Using a patented process, Saint John is piloting a program to prospect phosphorus by procuring pee from portable potties. Patterned after a popular Dutch program from Amsterdam, dozens of shoulder-high urine collectors will be placed throughout the uptown in June — including 25 of them in King’s Square alone. The 3-sided grey receptacles will be installed in the city core just in time for the arrival of cruise ship visitors as well as other summer tourist traffic.
“It’s a fabulous eco-friendly plan,” said Saint John Water chair, Yuri Nateshun. “Recently, Amsterdam did this on one of their public holidays and collected over 25,000 litres of urine! That liquid gold will be distilled and refined at a phosphate factory to make a type of artificial fertilizer called struvite.
“We are looking to capture mostly male urine by placing a number of stand-up collection stations around the city. Hopefully, by making the collection stations a part of everyday life in the city, people will get used to just whipping it out wherever and whenever they need to go. Distilling our urine into usable fertilizer is the ‘number one’ way we can reduce our dependence on unsustainable phosphate mining.”
“I’m really not sure about this idea,” admitted uptown resident Irene D’or. “We are already having enough problems with getting perverts to keep it in their pants. It’s probably a poor idea to be encouraging people to take this private act into the public realm, no matter what the benefits are.”
At city hall, outgoing Mayor Mel Norton was busy packing up his desk when contacted for comment. “Whatever,” he sighed. “I don’t even care anymore. I am so out of here. Let someone else deal with these kooks and nut-bars for a change. I’m moving to Grand Bay. Sayonara suckers!”
As part of promoting the practice of public peeing to visitors, the city will be deploying a group of “chamber pot ambassadors” dressed in Loyalist garb throughout the uptown core. “Basically, they will be drinking several litres of water each day, and then spending the rest of their time peeing in the receptacles,” explained Nateshun. “We hope that modelling the desired behaviour this way will help break down some of the social barriers that people may have to peeing in public for the first time.”
The Gallant government is spending $4 million per year to subsidize the 16 “urine collection and processing” jobs that will be created by the city.