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Public toilets across borough labelled ’embarrassing’

The state of public toilets across the ABC Borough have been called into question.

Alderman Glenn Barr has revealed that the state of some public toilets is leaving him “embarrassed”, as was the case in Scarva Park recently when visitors had come all the way from Fermanagh for a visit.

The UUP representative also wondered at the April 29 monthly meeting of the local authority how long public toilet facilities were deemed to be “new” in any given location.

The alderman for Banbridge DEA commented: “Can we bring a report back to the relevant committee regarding how long new public toilets are right across the borough.

“I can be specific about my own DEA but I’m not going to, because I know it affects many across the board.

“How long new they are, when was the last time they were renovated, when was the last time they saw a lick of paint?

“What is the schedule of cleaning and what does that cleaning entail, because in my view a bit of disinfectant or a bit of bleach around the toilet bowl isn’t acceptable, it’s the whole area that needs done.”

Referring to an event which took place in Scarva, the Banbridge representative added: “I was at an event yesterday and there were people from Fermanagh at the event, and it was at the play park.

“For them to use the facilities there I was a little bit embarrassed, it wasn’t great.

“This is right across the board, this is everywhere I go, the state of them, it’s not good enough to be honest. We should be setting standards.

“But equally there’s areas that potentially do need public toilets that do not have them, so hopefully that could also be identified, because I know members across the board will have been asking for different areas.

“I know I’ve been asking for Gilford and I know other people have been asking for different areas, so can we get everything laid out on the table so we can systematically work through what is needed, where we are as a council with them, so we can go back to the ratepayers and to visitors to our borough, and say this is what we are doing and this is what we’re going to do.”

ABC Lord Mayor, Alderman Margaret Tinsley (DUP, Craigavon DEA) recalled that a similar request had been made a number of years ago.

“Alderman Barr, when I saw that you brought this it triggered my mind that about six or seven years ago I actually asked for a survey on our public toilets across not one isolated area but across the ABC, to see what condition they were in, just exactly what you’re asking for,” she said.

“So I know something has already been worked on in this, it may be slightly out of date, but I know that there has been work done on this in the past, because I know when I asked for it previously it certainly was started, so yes I totally agree with you.”

Councillor Julie Flaherty (UUP, Portadown DEA) confirmed that such a survey had been requested in the past, and she referred to the Changing Places Toilet facility – one that affords maximum accessibility for wheelchair users and up to two carers – at the People’s Park in Portadown.

The UUP representative for Portadown DEA commented: “Lord Mayor, you’re quite correct, you did ask for that quite a number of years ago, and there was I think just maybe not the discussion that should have been had about it at that time, so that would be very useful if we can fire that up again.

“Some of us – probably the Portadown ones – got an email quite late this afternoon about the Changing Places Toilet in the People’s Park being out of action.

“I hope to goodness it hasn’t been vandalised, I don’t think that is the case, but I would like an update as soon as possible about what the issue is.

“Hopefully it’s just a wee maintenance issue, because some in this chamber will know how long it took to get that Changing Places Toilet in People’s Park and to make it accessible for everybody.

“So could we have a timeline – what the issue is and the timeline on that.

“It would be remiss of me not to mention Edenvilla Park. The toilets there seem to be starting to cause problem after problem.

“But we also already know that those toilets are not public toilets, they were put there for staff, they’re not suitable for the amount of people that use that beautiful park.

“We really do seriously need to be looking there, because what’s there is not capable of servicing the needs of the users of that park.”

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