A TEN-YEAR plan for $2.8 million worth of improvements to Warrnambool City Council’s public toilets has been narrowly approved by councillors.
Mayor Michael Neoh had to use his casting vote to break a deadlock and adopt the strategy, which comes in response to a large consultation effort with ratepayers and residents.
But councillors Peter Hulin, Peter Sycopoulis and Brian Kelson opposed the strategy, saying it didn’t think big enough and take into consideration the proposed CBD renewal plan that was on the cards.
The nine-stage public amenities strategy would feature community consultation, trials and planning along the way, according to the report, but lays out a staggered approach that would spread the spending over the years.
Stage one will target the Gilles Street portable toilets, with plans to build a small, potentially 24-hour toilet block in the area for $250,000, as well as the Koroit Street and Youngers car park blocks.
A trial closure of the Youngers car park block would be explored with a view to consolidating it with the nearby Koroit Street block at a cost of about $100,000, the report stated.
While councillor Jacinta Ermacora quipped that the much-needed upgrades and strategy plan would be “a great relief” to residents, Cr Hulin was less impressed, saying the report didn’t answer key questions.
He also questioned the trial closure of the Youngers car park toilets. “In my experience of travelling the world, that would be the number one place to put the toilets,” Cr Hulin said, proposing it be turned into a two-storey, “world class facility”.
Cr Sycopoulis said the strategy was “putting the cart before the horse” because the council was yet to come up with an overall plan for the CBD.
But Cr Ermacora said the toilet plan was in response to the public’s demands.
“(They’ve told) us the toilets in the city centre are not good enough,” she said.
Other proposals to be explored over the next nine years included decommissioning the Swan Reserve toilets and building new ones nearer Kepler Street, demolishing and rebuilding the block near McGennan car park, refurbishing some of the Lake Pertobe toilets and making improvements to the Viaduct Road toilets.