PUBLIC toilets across the Mornington Peninsula are being reviewed in a bid to modernise the older ones and improve cleanliness.
Mount Martha public toilet block has been described as a “disgrace” by resident Ian Summers.
“There are a lot of local businesses in this block of shops, cafes included, whose clientele are forced to use these disgraceful toilets,” he said.
“The main car park here is generally fairly full, including the other parking areas on the beach side, meaning the area gets a lot of visitors who must use these amenities.
“I would feel very embarrassed and ashamed if I was in charge, [they] are covered in graffiti, rubbish and who knows what else unsavoury is lurking in these concrete walls.”
Beach users at Fishermans Beach, Mornington also want a revamp of the public change room and toilet block.
Daily swimmer Dolly Beaty said many people used the change room but were forced to make do with “inadequate facilities”.
“It was essential during COVID to get exercise when permitted and now, during summer and winter, to maintain both physical and mental health; the problem is what happens afterwards,” she said.
“The roofless, concrete single shower and toilet facilities at the boat ramp end of the beach date from the 1950s, I’ve been told,” she said.
“In the 21st century the current infrastructure is totally inadequate … one cold shower is available with one sink and tap. At times there can be up to eight women attempting to change and rinse themselves using the rudimentary space and equipment.”
Beaty said it was particularly difficult trying to “stand in the elements, shivering and attempting to shower off sand and salt water”.
The founder of a weekly beach swimming group, Jacky Howgate, said her needs were pretty basic after a swim, but she had a small wish list, including a partial roof.
“If it is raining it is very hard to get dressed in one of the toilet cubicles before I drive to work, especially when the roof leaked,” she said.
“As we got into the colder months it was generally only me in the shower but, as my swimming group has grown, there have been more ladies vying for shower and changing space.”
Howgate said a partial roof would be better than full enclosure, as from her experience at other beaches a fully enclosed area “can get rather pungent if not cleaned regularly and thoroughly”.
“I’m also keen to maintain some of the charm of the existing block as I do think it helps to keep Fishies as one of the lesser populated beaches – that was one of the main reasons why I started my group there in January 2021.
“Some additional hooks in and around the existing toilet area would be great, and there is an empty area which seems to serve no useful purpose at all which could be reworked with some hooks and maybe a bench area for people to sit down when getting dressed.”
Mornington Peninsula Shire’s community infrastructure and open space planning team leader Mark Stahel said public toilets were an important community asset and the shire was aware of the condition of many facilities in the area.
“We have begun a review of the shire’s public amenities strategy, which will guide the renewal and upgrade of facilities such as these,” he said.