There’s a real pissing match at Sunrise Washroom Rentals’ head office

The B.C.-based company offers Porta-John for Hollywood stars, but its owners just can’t get along

A real pissing match

Sunrise Washroom Rentals offers classier porta-potty experiences than these

The film industry brings big bucks to British Columbia. Last year alone, movie and television producers spent nearly $1.2 billion in the province, translating into 20,000 jobs. Which means a lot of long days on the set—and a lot of bathroom breaks.

Enter Sunrise Washroom Rentals, a B.C. company that has capitalized on a niche but lucrative market: providing upscale outhouses to Hollywood clients in town for a shoot. The firm boasts a fleet of lavish porta-johns with the features of a five-star bathroom, from flush toilets to marble countertops and hot showers. Satisfied customers include the cast and crew of Twilight, X-Men, Battlestar Galactica, and (perhaps most fittingly) The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. As the website proclaims: “Everyone should have the luxuries that our washrooms provide.”

But at head office, the mood is, frankly, in the toilet. A rift between the founding owners, Kerry Vivian and Gordon Firth, recently spilled into court, with Vivian asking a judge to dissolve the company and liquidate its assets because of a “deadlock” over how to run the operation. For a business built on cleanliness, the case unearthed plenty of dirt.

Under oath, Vivian said his relationship with Firth began to sour just months after the company launched in 2005, and that “disagreements arose on nearly every corporate decision, whether major or minor.” Firth, on the other hand, described Vivian as merely a “passive investor” who has had little hands-on involvement since 2007—and whose real beef is that Firth won’t buy out his shares for Vivian’s asking price.

In the end, Justice Gregory Fitch decided not to flush the company. “For a winding-up order to be justified on the grounds of a deadlock, there must be a serious and persistent disagreement on some important questions respecting the management or functioning of the corporation,” he ruled on April 11. “The petitioner has failed to adduce any evidence showing how the operations of the company have been affected in a material way as a result of the friction that now exists.”

No word yet on an appeal. Or the movie rights.

 




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