Octagon solution allows relief for other areas

A succesful solution to toilet woes in Dunedin's Octagon has freed up funds for toilets elsewhere in the city.

Responding to questions at yesterday's annual plan deliberations, chief executive Sue Bidrose, citing advice from city property manager Kevin Taylor, said $200,000 had been set aside for toilets this financial year and $150,000 in following years.

There had been a plan to invest in Octagon toilets, after concerns people were urinating on St Paul's Cathedral grounds, but this was no longer needed after the opening hours of toilets in Municipal Lane were changed to 24 hours a day.

This meant there was increased funding for toilets for other areas in the city.

Installing toilets in Baldwin St, at Waitati, and on the West Harbour shared pathway had been identified as three priorities.

The $150,000 allocated per year would pay for roughly one block of toilets.

Her comments come after submitters, including community boards, called for more investment in toilets around the city, especially in areas stretched by demand from freedom campers and tourists.

Cr John Bezett called on the council to work with the Department of Conservation (Doc) when it came to providing toilets in isolated areas such as Sandfly Bay.

Dr Bidrose said it already did work with Doc and the reason why there had not been investment in toilets in recent years was because councillors agreed to put spending in the area on hold as part of efforts to keep debt under control.

Cr Andrew Noone asked whether there was a budget to upgrade toilets to meet increased demand from freedom campers at Warrington Domain, which was looked after by the parks and recreation department, rather than property services.

Infrastructure networks general manager Ruth Stokes said one of the options staff were looking at was supplying "temporary facilities'' at Warrington Domain during times when demand from freedom campers was high.

Options for installing additional toilets were also being investigated.

vaughan.elder@odt.co.nz

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