Dirty loo flushes out potty protest

ROBIN RAYMOND
Last updated 08:02 30/01/2013
Barry Davidson
Derek Flynn

Sit-in: Barry Davidson uses a portable toilet to show his disdain for the public toilet conditions he encountered at Pocket Park (Liz Davidson Place) in central Blenheim

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A Blenheim man decided to make a public toilet stop yesterday, setting up his portable loo on the pavement in central Blenheim in a sit-in protest

When a visit to the public toilets in Liz Davidson Place left him "having a sh.... day", Barry Davidson decided to publicly relieve his anger.

He positioned himself on the Queen St pavement, astride a portable toilet he bought earlier in the day, and launched a protest against the state of the public facilities.

A double liver transplant has left Mr Davidson needing to regularly use the toilet.

When he went to use one of the newly-built public facilities at the park just after 11am there was toilet paper across the floor, clothes left on a bench and a strong smell of urine, while the toilet itself was a mess, he said.

"It was a disgrace. There's no point the council spending thousands of dollars putting it up if they can't keep them clean."

So with the toilet to hand nearby in his car and armed with a handful of magazines, Mr Davidson decided to stage his first-ever protest.

Council reserves and amenities officer Nick Crous said the Queen St toilets were cleaned three times a day, and more often when he received public complaints. As soon as the council heard the toilets needed attention, the contractors were sent there to clean, sometimes up to five times extra a day.

"The toilets are only as clean as the last person or couple of people who've used them."

He said he sympathised with Mr Davidson.

"I myself don't want to go to a public facility that's in a state.

"I don't know what people do in these facilities. I've been in some to audit and there are clothes discarded, mess, things like that," said Mr Crous.

"These contractors have a hard time. Cleaning toilets is not a nice job. They work hard. I have full faith in them. They do their best."

The only way to really fix the problem was to have a "super-loo", a facility that had a permanent staff member there all the time, as in Taupo, Nelson, and Cambridge, he said.

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- The Marlborough Express

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