Public toilets given clean bill of health

A REVIEW of public toilet blocks in Corangamite Shire, including reduced cleaning at some facilities, has revealed annual savings of more than $30,000.

The council spends more than $240,000 each year operating and maintaining 23 separate public toilets in 12 townships.

A report to be presented to council’s monthly meeting tomorrow night indicates the overall condition, appearance and safety of the facilities is good.

Prepared by the shire’s facilities and recreation manager Brooke Love, it suggests the “useful remaining life” for public toilet blocks in the shire is at least 15 to 22 years.

The report also finds that the number of toilets in the shire is appropriate and there is no need for extra facilities to be constructed.

“Any new toilet should be matched by a corresponding elimination of an existing, unsuitable block,” Ms Love states.

An assessment of facilities shows blocks at Derrinallum, Lismore, Skipton, Port Campbell and at Camperdown’s Russell Mockridge Park rate the worst for condition, appearance and safety.

The best facilities in the shire are at Simpson, Princetown and at the Lakes Recreation Reserve in Camperdown.

Russell Mockridge Park includes a cycling track which has fallen into disrepair and clubrooms which are used solely by the town’s cycling club. The rooms have internal facilities so members do not need to use the external toilet block.

Ms Love recommends the shire reduce the cleaning and maintenance at the external block to a “periodic” basis “to ensure preservation of the asset”.

The report also recommends that the toilets at the Scotts Creek Recreation Reserve no longer be listed by council for public use.

“Council contributes to the cleaning of the toilet facilities at the reserve and a contribution to the utility supply as a historical arrangement,” Ms Love says.

“These toilets are considered no longer necessary for public access as township public toilets are located in Timboon, Cobden and Port Campbell. The maximum required travel between two facilities would be 39 kilometres.”

The council will also consider a recommendation to change the frequency of cleaning based on seasonal usage patterns.

Ms Love suggests, as a trial, cleaning could be reduced in low periods from May to November and improved in peak periods between December and April.

“A common stigma associated with public toilets is that they are sites of poor safety, anti-social behaviour and poor hygiene,” Ms Love says.

“This can impact on community and user perception of the asset with regards to their maintenance levels, service provision and to the point where they become functionally obsolete long before the asset life has expired.”

She recommends signs should be placed inside each block to advise users of the date and time the toilets are last cleaned so users are aware of the shire’s commitment.

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