City toilet in line for $400,000 makeover

Some alarm at cost but councillors hear upgrade is a need, not a want.

Some alarm at cost but councillors hear upgrade is a need, not a want.

Peel St toilets. Picture by Liam Clayton

THE “disgusting” Peel Street toilets are a step closer to a $400,000 refurbishment after a debate at yesterday’s meeting of Gisborne District Council, where councillors were shown photographs of “packages” left outside businesses after the toilets were locked at night.

They approved a staff recommendation, following consultation on the annual plan, that the money be spent in the 2017/18 financial year, subject to design approval by the community development and services committee.

There was support for an upgrade, although some councillors were alarmed at the cost.

Graeme Thomson said two years earlier the council had allocated between $700,000 and $800,000 a year for services as part of the 2015-25 long-term plan. A lot of this was for toilets.

By the time it went through the 10-year plan, it would be about $10 million extra cost, allowing for compound interest. It was a significant amount of money.

Rather than asking for an extra $400,000, this should come back to the council to prioritise spending.

Chief executive Nedine Thatcher-Swann said the money allocated in the long-term plan was not exclusively for toilets.

Larry Foster said this debacle had been going on for a long time.

Public uproar

The toilets were going to be closed at one stage and there was a public uproar.

The option of having a night-time facility that was self cleaning was a good idea. It was a way of having a great-looking toilet instead of walking in and seeing vandalism and sad sights at times, said Mr Foster.

Installation of a dedicated night-time facility adjacent to the building, that will be more vandal proof, is part of the proposed $400,000 refurbishment.

Community development chairman Andy Cranston said the $400,000 did make him nervous.

Should the council go out to the community and ask if they wanted to spend $400,000 on a toilet? That was a question that would get a totally different answer.

It was the same as anything he did at home. If he wanted a new bathroom, he would cost it out and look for the best option.

“As someone who has renovated dozens of houses, I would think $400,000 — is that a good spend? We have still got to have that discussion.’’

He did not think they should be allocating it into the financial year at this stage.

Cr Pat Seymour said this item had been given excessive priority. The toilets needed to be repaired but she could not see why that could not be done as part of repairs and maintenance.

The council often made a mountain out of molehill.

Survey

Chief executive Nedine Thatcher-Swann said there had been a survey of business owners and people using the toilets.

Bill Burdett said he had been on about this for a long time. There had been a report saying it would cost $650,000 and at one stage there was a move afoot to close it down.

“We have procrastinated for a number of years over the toilets. I think the allocation is fair and just and we should get on and do the job.”

Malcolm Maclean asked councillors to consider the business owners in the area. He showed pictures of faeces on the footpath and said there were three “parcels’’ like this left one night. Business owners rang to ask the council to clean it up. Three days later that had not been done and there was another “parcel” left.

“Think of the business people and the rubbish they are greeted with. Give them some consideration, they do pay rates,” said Mr Maclean.

Rehette Stoltz said people did not want to go into a “septic pit”. If the toilets were cleaned up she would assume that the business owners would not have the mess to clean up.

“This is not a want, it is a need. So get on with it.”

Amber Dunn said she was struggling with spending $400,000 on a toilet.

Karen Fenn said she would not use the Peel Street toilet — it was disgusting and she felt sorry for visitors using it.

Brian Wilson said staff made recommendations but they were not taken up by the council. If they had been, there would have been some money in the budget.

“Unfortunately, this has been our own doing.”

If the council spent a lesser amount it would end up with an inferior job and people would always treat inferior places with inferior behaviour.

Shannon Dowsing said he was not against refurbishing the toilets. He was against spending this amount of money without any background information as to why that amount was assigned.

Mayor Meng Foon said this issue had been around since 1998. The toilets were an absolute disgrace and it was important to have a first-class toilet in the main street.

THE “disgusting” Peel Street toilets are a step closer to a $400,000 refurbishment after a debate at yesterday’s meeting of Gisborne District Council, where councillors were shown photographs of “packages” left outside businesses after the toilets were locked at night.

They approved a staff recommendation, following consultation on the annual plan, that the money be spent in the 2017/18 financial year, subject to design approval by the community development and services committee.

There was support for an upgrade, although some councillors were alarmed at the cost.

Graeme Thomson said two years earlier the council had allocated between $700,000 and $800,000 a year for services as part of the 2015-25 long-term plan. A lot of this was for toilets.

By the time it went through the 10-year plan, it would be about $10 million extra cost, allowing for compound interest. It was a significant amount of money.

Rather than asking for an extra $400,000, this should come back to the council to prioritise spending.

Chief executive Nedine Thatcher-Swann said the money allocated in the long-term plan was not exclusively for toilets.

Larry Foster said this debacle had been going on for a long time.

Public uproar

The toilets were going to be closed at one stage and there was a public uproar.

The option of having a night-time facility that was self cleaning was a good idea. It was a way of having a great-looking toilet instead of walking in and seeing vandalism and sad sights at times, said Mr Foster.

Installation of a dedicated night-time facility adjacent to the building, that will be more vandal proof, is part of the proposed $400,000 refurbishment.

Community development chairman Andy Cranston said the $400,000 did make him nervous.

Should the council go out to the community and ask if they wanted to spend $400,000 on a toilet? That was a question that would get a totally different answer.

It was the same as anything he did at home. If he wanted a new bathroom, he would cost it out and look for the best option.

“As someone who has renovated dozens of houses, I would think $400,000 — is that a good spend? We have still got to have that discussion.’’

He did not think they should be allocating it into the financial year at this stage.

Cr Pat Seymour said this item had been given excessive priority. The toilets needed to be repaired but she could not see why that could not be done as part of repairs and maintenance.

The council often made a mountain out of molehill.

Survey

Chief executive Nedine Thatcher-Swann said there had been a survey of business owners and people using the toilets.

Bill Burdett said he had been on about this for a long time. There had been a report saying it would cost $650,000 and at one stage there was a move afoot to close it down.

“We have procrastinated for a number of years over the toilets. I think the allocation is fair and just and we should get on and do the job.”

Malcolm Maclean asked councillors to consider the business owners in the area. He showed pictures of faeces on the footpath and said there were three “parcels’’ like this left one night. Business owners rang to ask the council to clean it up. Three days later that had not been done and there was another “parcel” left.

“Think of the business people and the rubbish they are greeted with. Give them some consideration, they do pay rates,” said Mr Maclean.

Rehette Stoltz said people did not want to go into a “septic pit”. If the toilets were cleaned up she would assume that the business owners would not have the mess to clean up.

“This is not a want, it is a need. So get on with it.”

Amber Dunn said she was struggling with spending $400,000 on a toilet.

Karen Fenn said she would not use the Peel Street toilet — it was disgusting and she felt sorry for visitors using it.

Brian Wilson said staff made recommendations but they were not taken up by the council. If they had been, there would have been some money in the budget.

“Unfortunately, this has been our own doing.”

If the council spent a lesser amount it would end up with an inferior job and people would always treat inferior places with inferior behaviour.

Shannon Dowsing said he was not against refurbishing the toilets. He was against spending this amount of money without any background information as to why that amount was assigned.

Mayor Meng Foon said this issue had been around since 1998. The toilets were an absolute disgrace and it was important to have a first-class toilet in the main street.

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David Hemsley - 5 days ago
What's wrong with those people opposed to refurbishing toilets? As a Gizzy person coming home for a visit and shop in town, they are a disgrace. They are not much changed since 1955. Go the council.

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