Residents and merchants in Montreal’s Chinatown are turning up their nose at a new public toilet being built in the middle of Sun-Yat-Sen Park, a popular hub for the community.

Many are criticizing the city for plopping the unsightly, potentially stinky facility in the middle of an important location for cultural events. Some are even accusing the city of not doing its due diligence in consulting locals before determining the location for the toilet, which is one of 12 being built around the city.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea,” shopkeeper Yuhua Zuo told CTV Montreal in French on Monday. “If they don’t clean it well it’s going to be a big problem.”

Sun-Yat-Sen Park is named for the first president of China, and it hosts a number of festivals and cultural events throughout the year.

Resident Fo Niemi said the project never would have gone forward if Chinatown residents had been made fully aware of the planned location.

“Can you just imagine having some sort of place to honour (Parti Quebecois founder) Rene Levesque, and suddenly bang, some city authority decided to build a public toilet right next to it?” he said.

Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante says she worked with various divisions of the Ville Marie Borough on the location of the toilet.

“The needs were really coming from tourists and even marginalized populations and citizens (wanting) to use public bathrooms, but not having the opportunity to do so,” she said.

Montreal has not had public toilets since the 1970s, and has faced pressure to rectify that problem. Such facilities are commonplace in Europe, and a handful of high-tech public toilets have also been set up in Canadian cities such as Vancouver and Toronto.

Each of Montreal’s new 12 toilets will cost taxpayers $300,000 to build, with the first three expected to be operational later this month. The high-tech facilities are designed to be self-cleaning and will be freely available to the public.

With files from CTV Montreal’s Julian McKenzie and The Canadian Press