Flushing the streets - portable loos back on council's agenda

LATE-NIGHT toilet habits are back on the agenda as Tamworth council investigates just how to stop a stream of comfort stops becoming a flood of ugliness.

The toilet-stop saga has become a hot issue as the effects of late-night lockouts, taxi queues and a lack of accessible toilets in the city centre provide a new issue to be resolved. In a bid to stem the flow of unsavoury late-night revellers ignoring appropriate bathroom etiquette, Tamworth Regional Council has vowed to investigate options for public toilets in the CBD.

Public urination “hot spots” such as the Brisbane St taxi rank have been flagged as potential landmarks for the portable loos.

It is not the first time late night toilet facilities have been raised by council, however a raft of Liquor Accord restrictions launched late last year will exacerbate an already apparent problem, Cr James Treloar predicted when the issue was discussed at Tuesday night’s council meeting.

“The issue is probably getting worse rather than better and that’s on the basis of the new lock-in or lock-out laws that we have in licenced premises,” he said.

“They have traditionally been the toilet facilities for late night users and now they’re not in a position to get back into the hotel to use the toilet, so the issue will only get worse rather than better.”

Staunch advocate Cr Juanita Wilson stressed the need to address the “important health issue” rather than place it on the back burner again.

“It is a serious issue (and) it’s been raised again by the taxi fraternity,” Cr Wilson said. 

“It also causes some friction as people are charged for something they almost have no control over.”

Apart from helping keep the city clean, if implemented “discreetly” around the CBD, the measure would improve safety for people trying to get home after a Friday or Saturday night out.

It would also placate residents and business owners who have complained for years about drunks urinating in the street, in gardens, or in doorways around nightspots.

Cr Phil Betts said he believed one in front of the taxi rank was not enough.

“I would rather have a broader look at strategically placing toilet facilities across the CBD if we want to promote alfresco dining and promote the town and the main street,” he told his fellow councillors.

However, unless council “think outside the square” it is “nearly cost prohibitive in some ways”, according to Cr Russell Webb, who suggested partnering with independent developers undertaking work in the CBD to find a cost-effective solution. But, Cr Helen Tickle argued, toilets need not be “flash” like the automated facility in Anzac Park, so long as they did the job.

Collaborating with the Liquor Accord was also raised as a possible option.

A report is expected to come back to council shortly.

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