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Public loo in 'disgusting state'

JOE DAWSON
Last updated 05:00 24/01/2014
Ian Horne

UNPLEASANT EXPERIENCE: Ian Horne wants the public loo in Onehunga to be made more accessible for those with disabilities.

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Slipping and falling into a puddle on the floor of a public toilet is not an experience Ian Horne wishes to repeat.

That's what happened to the 64-year-old Onehunga resident three weeks ago.

He is calling for the loo in the Onehunga town centre to be redesigned so it's easier for those with disabilities to use.

He says the facility is often locked or in a disgusting state.

If it can't be redesigned then the old toilet block behind Onehunga Mall should be reinstated, he says.

Mr Horne suffered a stroke almost 20 years ago. He uses a mobility scooter and has little strength in his left side.

The toilet is outside the Onehunga Work and Income office and Mr Horne says it really should be better equipped, given the number of people of differing abilities who go to Work and Income.

His main gripe aside from cleanliness is the weight of the door and the small size of the facility, which he can't drive his mobility scooter into.

"You need to be Arnold Schwarzenegger to get in there, the spring is so strong," he says.

The public loo at the railway station is an example of a good one, Mr Horne says.

"I can drive my scooter into it and it's always clean and tidy."

But that is several hundred metres away and not always convenient.

On the day he fell, he was struggling with the door when his walking stick slipped on the wet floor and he tumbled forwards.

"I fell into an inch of water - or whatever it was.

"Some of the public facilities in this city are a comedy. If I was a visitor from another country I would be disgusted.

"I'd like to see something done about it."

He may just get his wish.

Maungakiekie-Tamaki Local Board chairman Simon Randall says the toilet has been checked over by an Auckland Council officer after calls by the Central Leader.

"An officer went and inspected it for cleanliness today [Wednesday] and was disappointed with it," Mr Randall says.

"They will hold a meeting with the cleaner and cleaning will be increased to three times a day."

He says the toilet should only be locked in hours of darkness, when in use or if it has a fault.

The facility is labelled with a phone number users can call if they find it is not open or wish to make a complaint.

Mr Randall says the heavy door is standard for a such a well-used public facility.

"I have asked they look into a sliding door, but there will be budgetary implications with that.

"But we will explore that as an option."

Mr Randall says the toilet block between Onehunga Mall and Countdown was closed because of vandalism.

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