Battle over shire’s near-water loos

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IN what has become a battle of motions, toilets at four Mornington Peninsula Shire-controlled campgrounds may be open all year to the public.

Councillors last month agreed to open the toilets exclusively to the family and friends of beach box licence holders at Sorrento, Rye, Rosebud and McCrae instead of closing them from May to September.

However, Cr Hugh Fraser last week told The News it was ridiculous to reserve the toilets for a select few people, most of whom did not live in the shire.

He said the motion by Cr David Gill adopted by council at its 28 January meeting was “unduly restrictive … our own residents remain shut out of being able to use their own council toilets on their own foreshores”.

“This is ridiculous. I’ve already had complaints about this,” Cr Fraser said, when outlining his own motion to free up the toilets.

“It’s an absurd situation and can’t be allowed to go on.

“My notice of motion, if accepted by council, will open up council-controlled foreshore toilets to year-round use by the general public.”

Officers have told councillors opening the toilets at the four campgrounds would cost at least $250,000 and create “inconsistencies” among licensees of the shire’s 824 beach boxes, as only 25 per cent would benefit.

The officers said council’s boatshed and bathing box policy was being revised and they would like to further investigate “the risk and unintended consequences, such as supporting overnight stays”.

Cr Fraser said his motion calling for a report within 60 days of the Tuesday 11 February council meeting “will open up council controlled foreshore toilets to year round use by the general public”.

“Also, I note in passing, that Cr Gill, whose ward is Red Hill in the green wedge, does not have any bathing boxes in his ward.”

First published in the Southern Peninsula News – 11 February 2020

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