City Hub

Marrickville Public Toilets: no lids, no butts


What does your loo say about you?

In the Marrickville local government area, the stainless steel bowls may be more maximum security prison than minimalist chic.

A draft public toilet plan sparked intense debate within Marrickville Council and on social media, after “prison style toilets” were proposed for the LGA.

Marrickville’s Council’s Draft Toilet Policy had a design standard for toilet bowls which were set to be stainless steel, seatless and lidless.

It was suggested in the plans that the council could gradually phase out seats on public toilets.

But concern for the community’s comfort prevailed, with council voting on November 19 in favour of at least retaining toilet seats for public washrooms.

Greens Councillor Max Phillips told City Hub he was “very pleased with the good result”.

Councillor Phillips had gauged community reaction to the plan on Facebook. Clr Phillips said although some people thought the public toilet issue was not worthy of discussion, he said he had received significant community interest.

He had warned the other councillors that the public would not want to use the toilets proposed in the plan.

“Seatless stainless steel toilets are what you’d find in a prison cell and I believe they are inappropriate in a neighbourhood park or shopping precinct,” Clr Phillips said.

He said that the comfort won out in the end.

Following council’s decision on November 19, a variety of toilet seat materials, such as porcelain and plastic, can be used.

Deputy Mayor Rosanna Tyler told City Hub before the council meeting that she would listen to all sides of the debate.

She was not sure if comfort should be the number one, or number two, priority.

“We have to tread a fine line, between what is comfortable and the cost of repairs, because there are quite undesirable practices of vandalism going on” Clr Tyler told City Hub.

She said the cost of current facilities were more expensive than what the general public might think, because of the need to comply with health and safety obligations during the installation and in ongoing maintenance.

“Toilets are horrendously expensive to build and refurbish,” she said.

“The industrial look does look prison style, but for cleaning, it is a lot better.”

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