Toilet block sparks row
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.
The Fearn Avenue toilets are set for a welcome redevelopment.