Grave loo request granted

TARYN UTIGER
Last updated 05:00 19/03/2014

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Waitara has finally got its toilet - but not without causing a stink in a council meeting.

Yesterday the New Plymouth District Council moved to let Waitara have its toilet, although it wasn't an easy win.

First-time councillor Len Houwers proposed that Waitara residents did not require the $82,000 cemetery toilet they had asked for.

An addition for a toilet could be added to the groundskeeper's shed for $50,000 less, he said.

Councillor Gordon Brown could barely contain himself, and a series of toilet jokes followed his rebuttal.

"The council's not so flush on funds," he said.

Councillor Shaun Biesiek told the council they had "held on" for too long and had to give Waitara the toilets now.

Keith Allum's suggestion was to take the money from the "Let's Go" project.

However, councillors Craig McFarlane and Howie Tamati didn't make fun of the business at hand.

"Quite simply the people of Waitara came to the council and the council actually made a promise to the people that they would build toilets in the cemetery. What we have done is move the toilets closer to the road, but we must still fulfil the promise," Mr Tamati said.

The issue had been before the council many times before, and enough was enough, Mr McFarlane said.

After years of petitioning and pleading, Waitara residents first found relief in 2012 when the council's monitoring committee decided the time was right for a toilet at the Waitara Cemetery.

But weeks later the $147,000 loo decision was revoked by then Mayor Harry Duynhoven and the issue went back for another round of discussions.

Last night's decision to sign off on the toilets came after more than 11 years of lobbying by Waitara residents and a 305-signature petition for the loo, presented during submissions on the council's 2012-2022 long term plan.

The $82,000 Permacrete single toilet will be built beside the road so that cemetery visitors and passing motorists can both use the facilities.

Mark Bruhn, council's manager of parks, said the new toilet should be installed in three to four months.

New-style public toilets cost an average of $22,000 to clean and maintain each year.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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