City News

Outdoor ‘Pissoirs’ to come out on Oxford

A retractable pissoir in The Hague. Source: Wikicommons

A retractable pissoir in The Hague. Source: Wikicommons

Plans for a retractable urinal in Kings Cross have been flushed, but Oxford Street partygoers may be able to take a slash in the $350,000 contraption instead.

On Monday night, City of Sydney Council dismissed plans for a urinal in Kings Cross’s Springfield Plaza.

Independent Councillor John Mant said the square needed to be designed and that the question of the urinal should be answered after any such development.

However, the council voted to launch a DA to place a retractable urinal on the corner of Oxford and Liverpool Streets, which will be subject to community consultation.

The urinals emerge out of the pavement on Friday and Saturday nights when the demand for public bathrooms increases.

Independent Councillor Jenny Green said the city lacked public toilets but that the first urinal would encounter the most controversy.

“We are desperately short of public toilets. There is limited access to public toilets, and they are very popular in London and Europe, and there are tourists here who don’t know where to go.”

“If the DA goes through, that will go out to nearby neighbours for consultation,  and if that goes ahead it will be installed, and they will track usage, and they’ll do that for a year.”

President of the Potts Point Conservation Society Andrew Woodhouse said that the drop in foot traffic meant that the pop up urinal was obsolete now and into the future.

“A pop-up urinal is attempting to solve a non-existent problem about drunks lingering longer in Kings Cross, we say, and should be rejected,” he said.

However Clr Green suggested statistics showed that the area was still in need of amenities, because of the rise of small bars and more restaurants in the area.

“Interestingly, even with the lock out, [the King’s Cross urinal] still collects the most urine,” she said.

“They did a count on the scanners, and it was 1.25 million people had passed through this area just in terms of the scanners, and there are a lot of people, and we’re collecting a lot of urine. There is still definitely a need, whether that is part of the redesign of that plaza, that’s up to the community.

But Andrew Woodhouse believes that small bars do not attract clientele that will “pee in public.”

“There has been a decrease in foot traffic in the area and at a quarter of million dollars, it will serve no other purpose than to attract people to put their private parts on public display,” he said.

Chairman of the Darlinghurst Business Partnership Stephan Gyory said that the current situation of parygoers urinating on private property was not ideal. He suggested the solution could be innovation around more traditional public toilets.

“Who wants to see people pissing in the street? It is a weird idea. In an ideal world, we would have toilets that were really well lit and have a security two nights a week,” he said.

“The fact is people have to go, and then the question is, who is responsible? And if no ones responsible, that’s strange, because we pay rates and taxes.”

At the meeting, Liberal Councillor Edward Mandla said that wherever the first location, its initial and ongoing costs were too expensive.

“With all the problems the City of Sydney is facing, I can’t see any justification for spending $350,000 over a ten-year period for a single pissoir for one participant that rises out of the ground with a annual estimated raising and lowering cost at four times per week of $4,000,” he said.

“We’re told that drunken men in Europe enjoy open-air urination into these monstrosities and that seven are initially planned for Sydney. That’s a cost of at least $2.5 million.

“I’m not sure whether drunken European woman watch or participate,” he said.

“The City of Sydney should wash their hands of this ridiculous Lord Mayoral initiative, which is something participants won’t be able to do, as they don’t come with any hand washing capability.”

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