Pub­lic loo pres­sure ris­ing

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - By KRIS DANDO

Busi­ness own­ers in Porirua’s CBD are re­sort­ing to lock­ing their toi­let doors to keep non-cus­tomers from us­ing them, and cop­ping plenty of abuse for their trou­bles.

The is­sue of suit­able pub­lic loos near the city cen­tre is not a new one. There are none in the Me­ga­Cen­tre and the two clos­est to the canopies are in the North City Shop­ping Cen­tre and the block on Lyt­tel­ton Ave, fac­ing Count­down.

This block has come un­der con­stant crit­i­cism, how­ever, for be­ing locked oc­ca­sion­ally, not cleaned reg­u­larly enough, and con­sid­ered un­safe af­ter dark.

Eric Jones, man­ager of the Canopy Con­nec­tion, says no so­lu­tion seems to be on the hori­zon.

‘‘We’re aware that there are some peo­ple who do not think they are a savoury place to go so they ap­proach re­tail­ers and cafes.’’

Mr Jones says mem­bers of the pub­lic have told him the Lyt­tel­ton Ave block is ‘‘scary’’ or is of­ten locked, with i-SITE staff re­ceiv­ing neg­a­tive feed­back about its state. Busi­ness own­ers such as The Dog Box (for­merly Kelly’s) and Sub­way lock their toi­lets now, while Dy­nasty Restau­rant say the fre­quency of mem­bers of the pub­lic ask­ing to use their loo is on the rise.

Mr Jones says some­thing must be done re­gard­ing the sup­ply, state and safety per­cep­tion of pub­lic toi­lets in Porirua’s city cen­tre, given re­tail­ers are ‘‘be­com­ing more and more ag­gra­vated’’ about be­ing asked to open up their toi­lets for use by the pub­lic.

The Dog Box’s man­ager Tina Graham says they are get­ting a dozen peo­ple a day ask­ing to use their fa­cil­i­ties. They have put up a sign say­ing they are only for cus­tomers and have even built a wall so peo­ple are un­sure where their loos are.

‘‘We’re get­ting abused by peo­ple and we’ve had a gutsful. It’s been like this for at least six years. Peo­ple think it’s their right to use our loos, they get re­ally an­gry when we say no. You feel bad some­times but it’s not our prob­lem, why should we have to pay for all that toi­let pa­per and soap and ex­tra clean­ing?’’

Ms Graham says they have writ­ten to Porirua City Coun­cil about the toi­lets is­sue, but its re­ply did not prop­erly ad­dress it.

‘‘They couldn’t care less. What they should do is do those ones [ Lyt­tel­ton Ave] up and sup­ply an­other one in the city cen­tre.’’

The coun­cil’s strate­gic as­sets and build­ings man­ager John Gibbs says they are aware the pub­lic toi­lets in the CBD are ‘‘not as pleas­ant as we would like’’, but out­lined work put into them of late. He says $15,000 has been spent in­side, which in­cluded tiling and new floor­ing.

‘‘These toi­lets are cleaned and ser­viced three times a day, seven days a week, while the com­plete in­te­rior is sani­tised twice a week. Graf­fiti is re­moved daily.’’

Mr Graham says im­proved fa­cil­i­ties are be­ing con­sid­ered as part of the $ 14 mil­lion city cen­tre re­vi­tal­i­sa­tion pro­ject.

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