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Sturt Park toilet plans well recieved

Tuesday, 11th May, 2010

The mural outside the toilets at Sturt Park The mural outside the toilets at Sturt Park

A grandmother has panned the idea but an information session yesterday failed to flush out any strident critics of a plan to build unisex toilets in Sturt Park.

 In fact, most of the handful of residents who turned up to yesterday morning's public information session at the Council Chambers appeared satisfied with the design of the new lavs.
 That was after staff from City Council assured the mostly female audience that the toilets, which will replace the existing concrete amenities, were designed to deter, not invite, sexual predators.
 Council's Shane Stenhouse said that, unlike the existing toilets which had many blind spots and were dark, the new ones were in plain view of people using the adjacent playground.
 That was important, he said, because an estimated 80 per cent of the people who now used the park were women and children.
 A local grandmother last week slammed the unisex design of the toilets, telling the BDT that they would put children at greater risk of being attacked.
 But yesterday's session was told that minimising crime was a key criteria of any new Council facility, and the toilets were based on Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) planning standards.
 A male resident questioned the size of the new facility, after learning it would provide the same number of adult toilets as the existing block, but without a urinal.
 "Do you think that will cater to Carols by Candlelight and other events," he said.
 In reply, Mr Stenhouse said that Council would have the option of adding portable toilets to the structure whenever large public events were held in the park.
 It was explained that unisex toilets offered greater flexibility over sex-specific toilets, particularly when there was one particular group, male or female, using the park.
 The new toilets, which Mr Stenhouse said could be up by the end of August and looked "much better in the flesh", include a disabled toilet and a child's toilet in a parent's room.
 The old toilet block will come down but Council has not yet decided whether to retain the outside walls which are covered with a mural.



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