Fed up residents build their own public toilets in South Canterbury town
Tired of their town being used as a toilet, two South Canterbury residents have taken matters into their own hands to build public toilets at St Andrews, just south of Timaru.
Masonic Hotel owner Jan Marris and St Andrews-based Waimate District councillor Tom O'Connor have been busy building the toilets on land owned by Marris in the centre of the town.
Tom O'Connor said it was a job worth doing, as it was not uncommon to see human excrement on the side of the road near the town's pub and residential buildings.
Jan Marris, a qualified drain layer and plumber, said he often saw people leave their cars to sneak around the side of his hotel for a pee.
READ MORE: St Andrews looks to fund toilets
Last weekend, an entire rugby team shot round the back to do the same thing, Marris said.
They're hoping the new toilet block, which will include three toilets, a shower, baby changing area and washing machine, will put a stop to the issue.
The facility will be available for people to use free-of-charge.
The block will be built on land behind the Masonic Hotel, which sits alongside the increasingly busy State Highway 1.
The toilets are connected to the hotel's septic tank and the hotel cleaner would ensure the toilets were kept clean, Marris said.
Council records show, since 2004, there have been five public submissions to the council's annual plan asking for a public toilet for the town.
"The council were sympathetic. For the council to install it they would have to buy real estate for what, $50,000?, and we are a small council and we just don't have that kind of money," O'Connor said.
"It was just a problem they didn't have a solution to."
Council property and regulatory group manager Sue Kelly said while O'Connor had raised the need for a toilet at St Andrews, the council did not see it as a "financial priority".
There was already a public toilet within 500 metres of the town and the council had no recorded complaints about human waste in public areas in St Andrews, she said.
O'Connor acknowledged there were other toilets, but said they were not located where travellers usually stop.
"There are toilets hidden away at the recreational reserve and camping ground, about a kilometre down the road, but once people have stopped, most simply use the roadside."
After five years talking about the issue, O'Connor and Marris came up with their own solution.
Once open, the new toilets would be proof people did not need to wait for a council to fix their problems, O'Connor said.
"Don't sit on your a... and wait for something to happen, get off your a... and do something yourself.