Relief in prospect for highway travellers

The on-again, off-again battle against roadside comfort stops along the Forgotten World Highway could finally be at an end.

A proposed self-contained toilet block to be installed halfway between Whangamomona and Taumarunui is back on the Stratford District Council's agenda.

Almost a year ago, Mayor Neil Volzke used his casting vote to break a 5-5 deadlock and reverse a policy and services committee decision to put a $60,000 toilet into the then long-term plan.

Yesterday, the council's policy and services committee voted seven to one in favour of a $33,000 alternative.

A $25,000 TSB Trust grant would pay the lion's share.

Councillor Robin Vickers said his concerns around the more expensive option had been put to bed.

"This does alter our argument a little bit," he said.

"I think it's worth a go."

Councillor John Sandford reiterated his concern that vandalism alone would blow out the annual maintenance cost of $5000.

"A few years ago we were sold the idea of two toilets in the rugby park and were told they were vandalism proof," he said.

"The kids proved that wasn't correct in the first few days.

"I would hate to think what could happen to it stuck way out the back."

Currently there is only one public toilet on the 150-kilometre road between Stratford and Taumarunui.

However, its placement is still up for debate with councillors wanting more options than the proposed Joshua Morgan's grave site, which is at the western entrance to Tangarakau Gorge.

The plan still needs to be confirmed at a full Stratford Council meeting on February 12.

Taranaki Daily News