If you’ve been straining to find a public toilet in Sydney’s central business district, Lord Mayor Clover Moore has a plan to rectify that.
Confronted by the familiar and often embarrassing scenario of parents with children, the elderly and those just who just need to go being forced to wanders around for blocks at a time to find somewhere to attend to the call-of-nature, the City of Sydney is pushing ahead with wholesale revamp of its public toilet procurement and management strategy.
The scheme to improve the city’s hygiene is based on boosting the number of “high quality, accessible public amenities” across the local government area and its major parks after research revealed that Sydney-siders simply want more toilets that are much easier to find.
The move will undoubtedly relieve a pressing need for those unable to hold-on for extended periods of time by installing new toilets in 15 locations across city streets and parks in addition to the existing 117 public toilet facilities that the City of Sydney now operates.
The push for new public amenities carries an estimated outlay of $8.26 million, including $6 million for new facilities and $1 million for the demolition and “adaptive re-use” of five redundant toilets.
The City’s strategy is not limited to increasing its number of public toilets and extends to making toilets operated by private businesses more convenient and accessible.
This includes a recommendation in the strategy to establish a “voluntary scheme” to encourage Sydney retailers, cafes and other businesses to open their toilets and display signs stating they are for public use.
Global restaurant chain McDonald’s has reportedly been a notorious culprit for locking their toilet facility doors in some of its CBD outlets even though the Building Code of Australia states that toilets in fast food chains are there to be used by both employees and patrons.
Another annoyance for many city-siders is how private operators make a business of having people do their business through fee-charging automated toilets, which could be catastrophically inconvenient if a busting patron is out-of-pocket.
Following a Sydney trial, these money hungry toilets operated by JC Decaux have been scrapped, requiring all City of Sydney public toilets to be free of charge.
Ms Moore said the strategy and action plan were another important step to improve the liveability and amenity of the city.
“This means cleaner and more easily accessible public toilets, especially in areas that don’t currently have facilities that are readily available,” Ms Moore said.
She said it’s a win-win for the City and businesses as studies have shown that in some overseas cities, making toilets publicly available, has led to an increase in customer numbers.
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