Nature called and the portable toilets answered.
After the February 2011 earthquake, Cantabrians cried out for toilet services to replace damaged sewerage systems, and the Government responded by buying 960 portable toilets and freighting them to Christchurch.
Hundreds more were hired from overseas, and at their peak nearly 2000 temporary toilets dotted quake-hit Christchurch streets.
Most of those bought by the Government – 816 by The Press' count – now sit in rows on a site next to the Parkhouse Rd transfer station in Sockburn, having been gradually decommissioned since last year.
Seventy-five remain on the front line, mostly in the residential red zone, and about 70 have been "damaged" and cannot be reused.
Christchurch City Council city water and waste manager Mark Christison said the loos would lie idle for several more months. "The future of these will be reassessed one year after the last significant earthquake event," he said.
A "significant earthquake event" is determined by need, not magnitude, and the last time portable toilets were needed in any great numbers was after last year's December 23 aftershocks.
Ministry of Civil Defence spokesman Vince Cholewa said that barring any more significant quakes, the Government would be in the portable toilet redistribution business by December.
"Their most likely fate is to be distributed to councils around the country for [them] to use as they like. [They can] store them for emergencies or keep them for events or festivals. We have no use for them and councils do."
The portable toilets were exposed to the elements at their temporary Sockburn home, but Cholewa said they were unlikely to degrade in the short term.
"They're meant for outdoor use and typically they're stored outdoors ... They are fairly robust."
- © Fairfax NZ News