A Warrnambool woman got a scare on Thursday morning when she found herself locked in a toilet cubicle at the Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve.
At about 11am, Valerie Cameron tried to turn the handle to unlock the toilet door.
“I got quite a surprise when I couldn’t unlock the door of the toilet,” she said.
A tourist from Melbourne was washing her hands in the toilet block at the time and went to report the incident to Tower Hill visitor centre staff.
The tourist from Melbourne returned to the toilet block and helped guide Ms Cameron as she crawled under the toilet door to get out.
Visitor centre staff had been dealing with a bus load of tourists at the time of the incident and a staff member was on his way to help Ms Cameron just as she was walking away from the toilet block.
The staff member talked with Ms Cameron and contacted a park ranger about the incident.
Ms Cameron said she was locked in the toilet for about 10 minutes.
“I wouldn’t want this to happen to anybody else,” she said.
Ms Cameron said she feared for people less mobile than herself in that situation.
She said she was fortunate she received help from the tourist from Melbourne.
Ms Cameron has since contacted South West Coast MP Roma Britnell.
She has also written to the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D'Ambrosio.
“A whole new toilet block needs to be built,” Ms Cameron said.
The toilet cubicle is now closed to the public with relevant signs.
Ms Cameron said she was also concerned about a large pothole at the main Tower Hill car park.
She said she left a phone message for Parks Victoria about the pothole about six months ago but never got a reply.
That pothole is currently filled-in with gravel.
“It has to be attended to properly,” she said.
South West Coast MP Roma Britnell is calling for better management of Tower Hill which she said is an international drawcard for the region.
She said she is getting a lot of phone calls from people about the state of Tower Hill including concerns about weed infestations and paths being overgrown.
Parks Victoria Area Chief Ranger Michael Smith said the authority would be investigating Ms Cameron’s concerns.
“We’re sorry to hear that a visitor had an unpleasant experience, and we’ll be inspecting the toilet block and the report of a pothole at Tower Hill,” he said.
“While we regularly patrol and maintain all our parks and reserves, on occasion wear-and-tear affects facilities.
“In the last two years, $240,000 has been invested at Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve for road maintenance and to replace the septic tank at the toilet block, while late last year a $400,000 funding allocation was announced for the reserve.
“We have this year appointed two new park rangers, and a seasonal park ranger, to our Warrnambool office, which will increase our capacity to manage local parks and engage visitors to the area.”