Wharf Crescent facilities reconsidered

Councilors at Wednesday nights Wakefield Regional Council meeting voiced their doubts about demolishing a public toilet block in Port Wakefield.
Councilors at Wednesday nights Wakefield Regional Council meeting voiced their doubts about demolishing a public toilet block in Port Wakefield.

Wakefield Regional Councillors have doubts about the demolition of the Wharf Crescent public toilets at Port Wakefield.

At the June 2017 Wakefield Regional Council meeting, council unanimously voted in favour of adopting a toilet replacement program which included a decommission/demolition of the Wharf Crescent toilets at a cost of $4000.

Through the toilet replacement plan, 10 toilets blocks around the region were identified as needing work.

Wharf Crescent was the only block identified for demolition.

A number of factors went into the review which included the toilets current usage, the cost of maintenance and the health requirements of the facilities.

It was recommended that Wharf Crescent be demolished due to their low usage and the commitment to upgrade the Soldiers Memorial Hall facilities in Pt Wakefield.

Pt Wakefield resident Wendy Garvey, who lives near the toilet block, created a petition for council to reconsider their decision.

239 signatures were received, the majority of which hailed from Pt Wakefield.

The petition was presented to council at the October 11 meeting.

During the November 22 meeting, the issue was again brought up for debate.

Central Ward Councilor Terry Williams moved to have a 20 minute informal discussion, and said he was against demolishing the toilets.

“The people have spoken and it is important we listen,” he said, “as councilor it is my duty to speak up for them.”

Councillors Peter Bowyer, Malcom May and David Lammond all supported Cr Williams suggestion to reconsider.

Cr Bowyer also revealed that he drove past the toilet block on his way to the meeting specifically to view it.

He said that he was impressed by the site and was “definitely in favour” of the toilets remaining.

Work is scheduled to begin on the Soldiers Memorial Hall toilets during the 2018/19 financial year, which could leave them out of action for an extended period of time.

Demolition of the Wharf Crescent toilets is also earmarked for 18/19 which would leave Pt Wakefield without any accessible toilets for the public.

Cr Williams moved that a further report be brought forward to council which was seconded by Cr Bowyer and ultimately carried.

Cr Barry Smith said that council should take into consideration chopping and changing decisions which could send a bad message and create doubt about the other scheduled works.

In it’s current state the toilets do not comply with the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and the Australian Building Standard 1428.

To demolish the current block and replace it with an upgraded facility would cost council approximately $70,000.

Alternatively a new facility built at the opposite end of Wharf Crescent near the boat ramp could be considered.