Council defends Ferry Rd toilets design
Gosford Council staff have defended the design of the Ferry Rd amenities building, saying it had received support from disability carers and parents of young children of the opposite sex.
The council's open space and leisure manager Mr Phil Moore was responding to criticism of the unisex toilets, the lack of seating around the building and offensive odours on hot days.
Mr Moore said the toilets were labelled unisex to allow carers for people with a disability of the opposite sex to enter the toilet and provide aid where required.
He said that Council had received support for this arrangement from parents with children of the opposite sex as there was concern over allowing young children to use public toilets by themselves for fear of predation.
"Unisex toilets reduce opportunities for predation and help appease anxiety over use by opposite sex carers for people with disability and children," said Mr Moore.
"There is also the added benefit that if one toilet became inoperable for any length of time all users could use the other toilet until it was fixed.
"This arrangement was put in place in other recently-built council facilities, including the new toilets at the Peninsula Recreation Precinct, which has received positive feedback," he said.
Mr Moore said self-closing mechanisms appropriate for accessible toilets would be installed on the cubicle doors in the near future to improve the presentation of the building.
"The external security doors open outwards and directly onto the pathway to allow better visual surveillance and reduce predatory behaviour," he said.
Mr Moore said the toilets were connected to the sewerage system and had been designed to allow easy cleaning of both wall and floor surfaces.
An epoxy finish that prevented liquids and odours from being absorbed by the concrete had also been applied to the floor of the toilets.
"Offensive odours that affect neighbouring properties and passing pedestrians are not expected from the new facility," said Mr Moore.
"The vents below the ceiling in each cubicle perform two functions: ventilation of odours and the release of hot air build-up below the corrugated iron.
"These design functions improve the comfort of users and aid in the diffusion of odours that would otherwise intensify if contained."
Mr Moore said that a portable site toilet for construction purposes was left in place near the new facility for a few days following the completion of the building and it could have been the source of the bad odour.
"A number of council officers have inspected the toilets on a number of occasions since their opening and no offensive odours were observed.
"The cubicles appeared to be performing as intended."
Mr Moore also said that seating in the covered areas was a planned as part of the development and would be installed in the near future.