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In August, Clutha District Council made three surplus toilet blocks available to the district, voting to supply one to Lawrence.
On Wednesday, Lawrence-Tuapeka Community Board members clashed while deciding where to locate the double Exeloo unit.
The debate centred on two possible sites: the town’s Market Reserve about 800m west of the town centre; or the Steep St Reserve at the entrance to Gabriel’s Gully, in central Lawrence.
Board deputy chairman Lindy Chinnery, who runs a business in the town, said the board had received two letters supporting the Steep St option.
"The main street is not thriving, and the feeling is that the community board is not supporting its businesses that well. As expressed in these letters, toilets at Steep St would encourage stopping in the town centre, close to its shops."
Board member Matt Little also expressed support for a central location.
"I fear we’re going to further alienate our main street businesses by kicking [the toilet] out of town."
Board member Roger Cotton said he agreed Steep St needed toilets, but the more appropriate location for the recycled Exeloo was at Market Reserve, where it would serve cyclists parking for the adjoining Clutha Gold Trail, and campervan users.
He said the recycled toilets should be regarded as "a bonus", whereas Gabriel’s Gully deserved a "destination toilet".
"Both locations need toilets eventually, but let’s think big picture stuff, longer term. We want to see bus loads in Gabriel’s Gully, so there has to be some short-term pain for longer-term gain. To me, these toilets are a bonus. Let’s put them at Market Reserve, and then do Gabriel’s Gully right as part of the wider development down there."
Mr Cotton was referring to a proposed $4.8 million redevelopment of the historic gold rush gully as a high-tech visitor attraction, announced by Clutha District Council in September last year.
A vote supporting Mr Cotton’s proposal was passed four to two.
Following further discussion, the board agreed to place the toilets next to the existing Market Reserve dump station, at an estimated cost of $50,000 to $80,000.
The board will also make a submission to the council’s long-term plan next year, requesting destination toilets at Steep St Reserve.