Willow Tree residents will get some relief in the coming weeks in the ongoing saga of the town's public loos.
After initially opting not to, Liverpool Plains Shire Council (LPSC) has secured funding for four portaloos to operate in place of the public toilets located in King George V Park, which have been closed since Thursday, August 31, 2023, due to an overflow issue with the septic toilets.
LPSC estimates to upgrade the septic system will cost $70,000.
LPSC mayor Doug Hawkins told the Leader council has negotiated with Transport for NSW to help finance the installation of the portaloos.
"Hopefully we will have those portaloos installed during the Christmas break to alleviate some of the problems," Cr Hawkins said.
"We won't have the full project done [installation of new septic tanks] till January, so it will be an ongoing problem. But, hopefully, the portaloos will go some way to ratifying that."
Owner of The Gateway Cafe, Kay Billingham, says she will believe it when she sees it.
The public restrooms were closed after the septic tanks began to overflow, posing a health risk.
Owner of the Plains Pantry, Hannah Shaw, said due to the lack of public facilities the town has had to cancel end-of-year events.
"We haven't been able to have any of our Christmas functions we normally have," she said.
"We usually have a shopping night and we do Carols in the Park, all those positive things at the end of the year we haven't been able to have.
"So that has been disappointing."
"It's such a shame about the Christmas situation. As it was my first Christmas in Willow Tree and now it is all stuffed up, Ms Billingham said.
Township not thrilled
Ms Billingham said she has grown more frustrated with the situation over time.
"They (LSPC) are not being upfront and I feel like they are not being honest," she said.
"There also has been no communication or updates."
And the problem continues to escalate, with tourists becoming less likely to stop.
Ms Shaw expressed her dismay, particularly as Willow Tree has developed a reputation as a food lovers' mecca.
"All the businesses in the town are really having to cope with customers that are unsatisfied and that is the last thing we want," she said.
"We want people to stop in this town and have a nice experience."