There’ll be no public toilets for the many users of Burnside Heights’ Tenterfield Park, Melton council has decided.
Cambridge ward councillor Steve Abboushi called for toilets at Tenterfield Park to be funded from this year’s budget, a move he said was supported by many community groups, as the closest public toilets are two kilometres away at Watervale shopping centre.
But his motion was knocked back at last week’s council meeting, with one councillor saying funding toilets at Tenterfield Park could “open the floodgates” for requests for the same at other parks.
The toilets could also attract “drug dealers”, the councillor suggested.
“This initiative wasn’t put forward willy-nilly,” Cr Abboushi said. “It was put forward with due consideration, consultation with the community … followed by a post by me on Facebook to gauge some more responses on what [residents’] thoughts were.
“There’s been a lot of thought that’s gone into this, and it’s been backed by community groups inside and outside of the municipality.”
But fellow ward councillor Goran Kesic said the linear shape of the park meant it wouldn’t be able to accommodate public toilets, and he said some residents had complained about the suggestion.
“[They said] they wouldn’t like the smell from the [toilets], they wouldn’t like different groups, perhaps drug dealers, coming,” Cr Kesic said.
Council officers estimated the cost of building the public toilets would be about $180,000, with annual cleaning and maintenance costs of $15,000.
Council policy provides for public toilets only at “active recreation reserves”, such as Hannah Watts Park, Diggers Rest Recreation Reserve and Hillside Recreation Reserve. Tenterfield Park is considered a local park.
Cr Lara Carli said, in the past, human faeces had been left on playground equipment at Tenterfield Park.
“I’ve seen the comments residents are saying ‘yes please, we need some toilets there’ … [This park] is heavily utilised.”
Councillors Ken Hardy, Goran Kesic, Bob Turner and Sophie Ramsey voted against the motion. Cr Ramsey used her mayoral casting vote to knock it back.
Councillors Kathy Majdlik, Steve Abboushi, Melissa De Santis and Lara Carli voted in favour. Cr Michelle Mendes was absent.