Toi­let block sparks row

Augusta Margaret River Times - - News - War­ren Hately

Mar­garet River’s no­to­ri­ous Fearn Av­enue pub­lic toi­lets were the stag­ing ground for a slang­ing match be­tween Cr Mike Smart and Shire chief ex­ec­u­tive Gary Ever­shed last week.

Mr Ever­shed called the for­mer Shire pres­i­dent to order for per­ceived crit­i­cism of staff which the chief ex­ec­u­tive said had gone on for too long.

Coun­cil­lors were flush with ex­cite­ment to sup­port a sched­uled ma­jor up­grade for the toi­let block, widely re­viled by res­i­dents and vis­i­tors for its seat­less stain­less steel toi­let bowls.

The stoush be­tween Cr Smart and the chief ex­ec­u­tive was sparked by the coun­cil­lor ques­tion­ing why long-run­ning calls for proper seats hadn’t been taken up by of­fi­cers.

“I’m not sure why we didn’t just have seats put on the things at the start,” he said. Mr Ever­shed said “dis­parag­ing comments on staff” were not wel­come.

He said coun­cil­lors had am­ple op­por­tu­nity to raise con­cerns dur- ing an­nual bud­get-setting. “I see it as a shared re­spon­si­bil­ity,” the chief said.

“Too of­ten in this cham­ber there have been dis­parag­ing comments about staff and it’s got to stop, by your­self in par­tic­u­lar.”

Cr Smart replied that he was mind­ful of coun­cil­lors keep­ing out of op­er­a­tional busi­ness.

Lo­cal firm Tate Con­struc­tions will lead the planned $345,000 re­build of the 16-year-old block.

“The Shire has re­ceived com­plaints about the stan­dard of the fa­cil­ity,” a Shire re­port out­lin­ing the up­grade noted.

“The in­ter­nal fa­cil­i­ties have ex­ceeded their use­ful life and are in need of re­place­ment.

“The project will pro­vide a more pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ence for tourists who need to use pub­lic toi­lets.”

Deputy Shire pres­i­dent Kylie Ken­naugh said she was “re­ally ex­cited” she could use the toi­lets in town again.

The Shire will carry the costs for traf­fic man­age­ment and tem­po­rary toi­lets dur­ing the project.

Pic­ture: Therese Col­man

Vol­un­teers from the Surfrider Foun­da­tion are ask­ing peo­ple to come along and help on WA Beach Clean-up Day.

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