Toilet cost a no-go, says councillor

The Dunedin City Council is considering spending up to $96,000 to replace the existing public...
The Dunedin City Council is considering spending up to $96,000 to replace the existing public toilet block at Karitane. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
The interior of the toilet block, which was built in the 1950s. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
The interior of the toilet block, which was built in the 1950s. Photo by Peter McIntosh.

Plans being drawn up by the Dunedin City Council to spend up to $96,000 on a replacement toilet at Karitane are causing a stink among councillors.

The proposal to build the toilet block at the Karitane foreshore reserve was presented to this week's council community development committee meeting, after a request during the 2010-11 annual plan hearings early this year.

The staff report that resulted, prepared by council parks and reserves team leader Martin Thompson, outlined the options to councillors at this week's meeting.

It said a replacement toilet - paid for from within existing budgets - was the most cost-effective way of providing a new facility that met modern standards.

The existing toilet in the area, built in the 1950s, was deteriorating.

Mr Thompson's report did not contain a detailed estimate of the project's cost, but noted a similar toilet block built earlier this year at Ocean View cost $96,000.

The new Karitane facility would have two stalls but because there was an existing sewer connection in the area, it was unlikely to cost $96,000, he said.

However, the figure caused concern for Cr Lee Vandervis, who warned councillors accepting the report might prompt the community to expect a $96,000 spend "on what essentially is a two-stall bog".

"I'm a builder's son and $96,000 for a two-stall bog is outrageously over the top," Cr Vandervis told the meeting.

"$96,000 is a lot of money."

Council community and recreation services manager Mick Reece agreed concern about costs was "important", but stressed he "sincerely hoped" the final cost would be reduced during the tender process.

Mr Thompson said $96,000 was the "maximum cost of replacement", but community input through the Waikouaiti Coast Community Board could yet shape the proposal.

Other councillors also raised concerns about the toilet.

Cr Jinty MacTavish suggested there was interest in the community for a new toilet design that incorporated a composting facility.

Council community life general manager Graeme Hall said such toilets were "excellent" where sewage facilities were not already in place, but the council wanted to avoid doubling up on facilities and costs where sewerage already existed.

The proposed toilet would be discussed again at the next committee meeting early next year, after input from the community board was obtained.

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