People power has resulted in the Tocumwal Visitor Information Centre bathrooms being reopened.
As a result of community pressure, Berrigan Shire Council has also resolved to reconsider its decision to omit public toilets from the development of a new restaurant at the same site on the Tocumwal foreshore.
Tocumwal Chamber of Commerce president Sergio Redegalli recently criticised council for its approach to the provision of toilets.
It had closed the existing toilets due to their condition, but had said it would not include new public toilets in development designs because others are located further along the foreshore.
Council general manager Rowan Perkins said council was happy to work with the community.
‘‘We reopened the toilets because we didn’t see a reason not to open them — everyone wanted them open, so that’s what we did.
‘‘There’s still some work to be done on the female bathrooms to get them reopened, but the men’s should be up and running now.
‘‘There will also be separate bathrooms facilities for the restaurant itself, and the new redesign will consider an add-on public bathrooms. It will be a stand alone public facility, which will be attached to the building.’’
While welcoming council’s decision to revisit the provision of toilets, Mr Redegalli said the problem could have been avoided if council sought more design options from a range of architects.
But Mr Perkins said it would have come with its own issues.
‘‘If you have 10 people in a room then you get 10 different opinions, the process takes longer to move forward,’’ he said.
‘‘We’re under contractual obligation to use the state funding to deliver this project, so with it’s approaching deadline decisions need to be made.
‘‘We’ve got to keep plans moving forward.’’
Tocumwal Antiques and Tea Rooms owner Lynne George said having the visitor toilets reopened was a big win for the community. She was among the business owners lobbying for the reopening.
‘‘We’ve all worked so hard to get the bathrooms reopened,’’ she said.
‘‘And toilets have also been added to the plans for the new building, so we’re very happy with the outcome.’’
Council’s development plans for the foreshore includes establishing a new building to house both a ground floor visitor centre and a restaurant on the second floor.
Business plans for the development were adopted last month, with detailed concept plans still pending.