Toi­let block im­passe

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Front Page - By JON BASSETT

COTTES­LOE coun­cil­lors have re­jected a bid by the op­er­a­tors of the In­di­ana restau­rant to have ratepay­ers pay for more than clean­ing and daily main­te­nance of pub­lic toi­lets un­der the build­ing at Cottes­loe Beach.

“We’re pre­pared to take back the toi­lets, but work is needed to bring them up to scratch,” Mayor Philip Angers said af­ter coun­cil­lors went be­hind closed doors to dis­cuss the is­sue last week.

They did agree to bud­get for tem­po­rary fa­cil­i­ties should the pub­lic toi­lets be closed if an agree­ment can­not be reached with In­di­ana Tea House Pty Ltd.

The restau­rant has been dogged by con­tro­versy since con­struc­tion of the toi­lets in the mid1990s, in­clud­ing ini­tial claims of con­crete can­cer, be­fore the coun­cil re­jected an im­prove­ment in 2016 as a re­sult of a dis­puted lease.

A brief­ing note for coun­cil­lors said at least $656,641 had been spent on le­gal fees and clean­ing dur­ing talks with op­er­a­tors since 2006, in­clud­ing of $454,641 for un­suc­cess­ful lit­i­ga­tion in 2016.

The ar­gu­ment has cen­tred on who is re­spon­si­ble for the toi­let’s clean­ing and plumb­ing and main­te­nance of the en­tire restau­rant, un­der the lease, which is held un­til 2041. The note said ad­di­tional costs com­prised sup­ply of toi­let rolls and san­i­tary ser­vices, $40,000 for plumb­ing in 2010, $80,000 to un­block toi­lets in 2011-12, $6000 for pipes in 2012, $40,000 on clean­ing in 2015, and $44,000 a year later.

Cottes­loe Res­i­dents and Ratepay­ers As­so­ci­a­tion sec­re­tary Yvonne Hart said coun­cil could not sus­tain the spend­ing, res­i­dents did not sup­port it and an im­me­di­ate res­o­lu­tion was needed.

Af­ter con­sid­er­ing a sub-lease for the toi­lets and show­ers, coun­cil­lors agreed they would not be re­spon­si­ble for re­pair­ing any dam­age caused by pre-ex­ist­ing plumb­ing faults or ex­ter­nal in­fra­struc­ture such as drains and grease traps.

Mr Angers and the Town’s chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer will meet again with In­di­ana Tea House Pty Ltd to seek a per­ma­nent so­lu­tion.

In­di­ana di­rec­tor Chris Tay­lor was con­tacted for com­ment.

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