'It's their building': Taylor says council would not control park toilet

FRUSTRATED: Councillor Glenn Taylor at the CWA building in Robertson Park. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 12-7jktoilet1
FRUSTRATED: Councillor Glenn Taylor at the CWA building in Robertson Park. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 12-7jktoilet1

THE end of the Robertson Park toilet saga appears further from reach, with councillors still in disagreement over the design and possible access restrictions. 

Councillor Glenn Taylor said the matter came up during a briefing last week, with councillors in disagreement over whether the toilets should be traditional male and female or unisex as planned, and whether they should include urinals. 

“I can see the logic, but it should have been raised in the previous council,” he said.

“I just want the building built, it’s incredibly frustrating – there always seems to be a move at the 11th hour to stop it.”

The current plan would locate the toilets near the CWA Hall on the Byng Street side. 

With an estimated cost of $270,250, the plan would also include renovations to the CWA Hall to help the branch hold functions. 

While the toilets would be separate to the building, Cr Taylor said councillors were informed during the briefing the CWA would be able to close them off to the public during a function. 

“If they’ve negotiated these conditions, they’re unacceptable to the ratepayers – public toilets are public toilets,” he said.

“The CWA are a great organisation, I’ve got no issues with them, but I’m very reluctant to hand over a public facility to a private organisation.”

He said antisocial behaviour was always a risk factor for public toilets and problems occurred from time to time.

If the CWA stamp their feet and say, ‘no, we’re not going to allow it’, it’s their building.

Councillor Glenn Taylor

“It’s not a matter of if, but when, but it’s not being built for the drunks on Friday and Saturday night, it’s for mothers trying to change their kids and so elderly people have got facilities during services like Anzac Day,” he said. 

“If the CWA stamp their feet and say, ‘no, we’re not going to allow it’, it’s their building.”

The CWA owns the hall, but the land is Crown land and cannot be sold.

Cr Taylor said he was considering resubmitting a motion he proposed in April. 

The motion was for a standalone block on the McNamara Street side, but Cr Taylor withdrew it on the previous occasion when it became clear his colleagues on the previous council would not support it. 

“It would be over the sewer lines at a reasonable cost and council would own it,” he said.

“This council can’t build a public toilet.”

The standalone facility, which was controversial with nearby businesses, was deferred in December 2014 pending discussions with the CWA and plans have involved the hall ever since 

The plans were originally anticipated to be put out to tender in August, with work complete by January. 

However, they are currently with the state government, competing for $1.9 million in Stronger Communities funding

The council has committed to putting $50,000 towards the work. 

The Orange CWA branch could not be reached for comment.