Location of toilet gets mixed reaction

The biggest problem caused by freedom campers was their waste, which was fixed when toilets were provided, Marlborough District Council reserves and amenities officer Nic Crous said yesterday.

A toilet had been installed in Double Bay in the Marlborough Sounds in response to the need to stop people going to the toilet on the beach, by the side of the road, or in bushes, and Mr Crous said that had been successful.

The council is proposing to install the same sort of toilet, a Norski Environment model, in a public reserve area in Ohingaroa Bay in the Sounds, but it is causing controversy, with residents supporting and opposing it. Some have threatened legal action.

Mr Crous said the Norski Environment toilet ensured no pollution occurred, as it has a holding tank which was regularly pumped out.

"It is commonly used elsewhere in the Sounds, by council and the Department of Conservation (DOC)." The toilet was a waterless one, and there would be a hand sanitiser installed but no running water, he said.

An agreement had been reached with DOC for maintaining the proposed toilet in Ohingaroa Bay, he said. "It would therefore be serviced at the same frequency as their other toilets, by staff who have experience in doing this task."

DOC's current cleaning schedule was: daily cleaning during peak season (Boxing Day till January 31); cleaning two or three times a week depending on numbers during the shoulder season (February 1 until Easter, and 1 December to Boxing Day); and once a week during the off season (Easter to 30 November).

Mr Crous said it was "early days yet" and details of the toilet location, design and servicing would be considered as part of a resource consent process before the toilet was installed.

Councillors have put the consent application on hold until further consultation with residents. A meeting is expected to be held next week.

The Marlborough Express