'Funky' art piece with 'wow factor' - a drawcard for Eltham

JOHN ANTHONY
Last updated 05:00 20/08/2012
Kawakawa's pride - the Hundertwasser designed toilets
LUSH LOOS: Eltham’s public toilets are set to get a creative makeover designed by Jackson Architects. Pictured is Kawakawa's pride - the Hundertwasser designed toilets.

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Eltham's public toilets are set to get an $80,000 "Cheesy Art" transformation.

Three years ago the Eltham Community Development Group came up with a concept to turn their High St public toilets into a public art piece.

With the plans now drafted, that dream will soon become a reality.

Community Development Group member Marilyn Gernhoefer said the intention was to create a toilet block which reflected the town's cheese and engineering industries, heritage and art culture.

The "Cheesy Art" concept plans, drawn by Bill Jackson of Jackson Architects, show the toilets with a yellow holey cheese canopy, held up by recycled cast iron columns.

It would feature mosaics, glazed pottery, metal cut into flax, stained glass and artwork by Eltham children.

"We just wanted to make it a piece of contemporary art," Ms Gernhoefer said.

The creative public toilets design draws similarities with Kawakawa's famous toilets designed by controversial Austrian artist Friedrich Hundertwasser.

Mr Jackson said Eltham was a great town which deserved great toilets.

The community group had been a pleasure to work with, he said.

"They wanted something which was more than just a toilet block.

"Something funky with a bit of wow factor.

"Something which represents Eltham," Mr Jackson said.

The Eltham Community Development Group, working with the Eltham Community Board, are now about to enter a fundraising phase to make the cheese toilets a reality.

While an exact budget for the makeover was not yet known, Ms Gernhoefer estimated it would cost no more than $80,000.

Because the project was not a South Taranaki Council initiative ratepayers would not foot the bill, she said.

Fundraising would probably take about six months, she said.

"It's going to happen."

The idea was to try and make people stop in Eltham and want to use the toilets.

As well as the toilet makeover Eltham was also getting five new murals reflecting the town's heritage.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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