Frustration as Glasshouse loos to close

By Mitch Gaynor

THE Sunshine Coast Council has ended a 39-year agreement to service toilets outside the Glass House Mountains Community Hall.
The move will force the closure of the toilets and users will have to walk 600m to the nearest public amenities.
The decision comes just as the Community Hall Inc has unveiled plans to partner with Barung Landcare, GMAN, and the Early Learning Centre on a project which aims to activate the area into a community park.
The toilets were an integral part of the plan, although organisers say that the project can still continue. It also comes two weeks after GC&M News exposed the poor state of public toilet maintenance across the hinterland. Community Hall president, David Aubrey, said his group was disappointed in the decision as they had big plans to activate the area, but were not in a position to fund the regular maintenance of the toilets.
“With only a small group of Hall members and limited funds to contract out maintenance and continuous repairs due to vandalism, we will be unable to keep the toilets open,” he said in a letter to this week’s paper (p24).
“This all comes as a blow as the Community Hall is partnering with Barung Landcare, GMAN, and the Early Learning Centre … transform the area into a community park and gardens. “With the aim of providing a place for locals of all ages and abilities to connect and interact, the access to public toilets in the vicinity formed an integral part of the shared space offering.”
The cost-cutting decision was based on the fact that there were nearby public toilets for people to use.
“Given the community hall already contains internal toilet facilities, which could be used to meet the Hall’s requirements, the legacy arrangement of council maintaining and servicing the external toilets under a Permit to Occupy was no longer considered financially viable, given the two other council-operated public amenities within close proximity,” a council spokesperson said.
The council also declined to fence the toilets, instead urging the organisation to apply for a grant.
The organisation, while gracious, said that it had placed them in a difficult position, especially with only one month’s notice.
“We’d like to thank Council for maintaining the toilets, park and playground as it has been greatly appreciated, however, the short notice means the committee now needs to quickly procure and install gates and manage the grass growing out of control,” Mr Aubrey wrote.
“The Hall has been a community owned resource since 1916, so we are hoping that the community can help out and cut some grass in the park area until we can arrange a grass cutting contractor.”