Pub­lic loo ‘dis­gust­ing’

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By JOE DAW­SON

SLIP­PING and fall­ing into a pud­dle on the floor of a pub­lic toi­let is not an ex­pe­ri­ence Ian Horne wishes to re­peat.

That’s what hap­pened to the 64-year-old One­hunga res­i­dent three weeks ago.

He is call­ing for the loo in the One­hunga town cen­tre to be re­designed so it’s eas­ier for those with dis­abil­i­ties to use.

He says the fa­cil­ity is of­ten locked or in a dis­gust­ing state.

If it can’t be re­designed then the old toi­let block be­hind One­hunga Mall should be re­in­stated, he says.

Mr Horne suf­fered a stroke al­most 20 years ago. He uses a mo­bil­ity scooter and has lit­tle strength in his left side.

The toi­let is out­side the One­hunga Work and In­come of­fice and Mr Horne says it re­ally should be bet­ter equipped, given the num­ber of peo­ple of dif­fer­ing abil­i­ties who go to Work and In­come.

His main gripe aside from clean­li­ness is the weight of the door and the small size of the fa­cil­ity, which he can’t drive his mo­bil­ity scooter into.

‘‘You need to be Arnold Sch­warzeneg­ger to get in there, the spring is so strong,’’ he says.

The pub­lic loo at the rail­way sta­tion is an ex­am­ple of a good one, Mr Horne says.

‘‘I can drive my scooter into it and it’s al­ways clean and tidy.’’

But that is sev­eral hun­dred me­tres away and not al­ways con­ve­nient.

On the day he fell, he was strug­gling with the door when his walk­ing stick slipped on the wet floor and he tum­bled for­wards.

‘‘I fell into an inch of wa­ter – or what­ever it was.

‘‘Some of the pub­lic fa­cil­i­ties in this city are a com­edy. If I was a vis­i­tor from another coun­try I would be dis­gusted.

‘‘I’d like to see some­thing done about it.’’ He may just get his wish. Maun­gakiekie-Ta­maki Lo­cal Board chair­man Si­mon Ran­dall says the toi­let has been checked over by an Auck­land Coun­cil of­fi­cer af­ter calls by the Cen­tral Leader.

‘‘An of­fi­cer went and in­spected it for clean­li­ness to­day [Wed­nes­day] and was dis­ap­pointed with it,’’ Mr Ran­dall says.

‘‘They will hold a meet­ing with the cleaner and clean­ing will be in­creased to three times a day.’’

He says the toi­let should only be locked in hours of dark­ness, when in use or if it has a fault.

The fa­cil­ity is la­belled with a phone num­ber users can call if they find it is not open or wish to make a com­plaint.

Mr Ran­dall says the heavy door is stan­dard for a such a well-used pub­lic fa­cil­ity.

‘‘I have asked they look into a slid­ing door, but there will be bud­getary im­pli­ca­tions with that.

‘‘But we will ex­plore that as an op­tion.’’

Mr Ran­dall says the toi­let block be­tween One­hunga Mall and Count­down was closed be­cause of van­dal­ism.

Un­pleas­ant ex­pe­ri­ence: Ian Horne wants the pub­lic loo in One­hunga to be made more ac­ces­si­ble for those with dis­abil­i­ties.

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