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How do we stop vandalism of public toilets?

18 Mar 2016

How do we stop vandalism of public toilets?

The Community Development & Services Committee discussed solutions to reducing vandalism of public toilets yesterday.

"We want ideas from the community on how we address vandalism and the state of the public toilets," says planning and development group manager Nedine Thatcher-Swann.

We have 77 toilets around the district, 30 in the city.  Popular toilets are cleaned 3-5 times a day. "Cleaners deal with shocking sights on a daily basis," says Ms Thatcher-Swann.

"Graffiti, vandalism, blocked toilets and disgusting mess that no one should have to deal with."

"It's not a good look for our district and horrible for local residents and visitors."

Since December staff have been monitoring trends in toilet use and when the damage is occurring.

"Most vandalism happens at night, signs don't work, and so should we close them at night?"

Staff have explored the idea of closing toilets overnight, much of the vandalism occurs between 9pm and early morning.

The toilets most affected by vandalism include Peel Street, Derby Street, Elgin, Lytton West and Sponge Bay.

Committee members discussed the impacts on communities that closing toilets would have.

Councillor Stoltz suggested perhaps keeping the Peel Street toilets open and having it manned overnight to reduce the likelihood of vandalism.

"It could cost more but it would stop the problem," she said.

The notion of cameras outside of the toilets to record whose entering and exiting may only serve to catch people after they've done it, while still having the cost of cleaning up the mess.

Councillor Seymour was concerned about communities like Elgin that were probably more in need of having toilets open overnight for people returning from town.

Staff will gather feedback from business owners in the CBD and affected areas as well engaging the community on solutions.

Ms Thatcher-Swann says we'd like suggestions from the public on how we tackle the problem.

"We'd like to hear from the community affordable, practical solutions before we take any action to close toilets or otherwise."

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