Mixed responses from the public have quickly followed after a sold sticker appeared on an empty building in Balclutha’s main street, a site the Clutha District Council plans to turn into a new destination toilet.
The council made the decision to buy the building just before the Christmas break.
“Just a toilet on its own would be horrible,” Clutha resident Beth Linklater said when she heard of the council’s recent decision to buy the 58 Clyde St site for the proposed toilet.
“It will need to have a nice facade and become a multi-use building not be just a toilet,” she said.
Councillors had originally considered Elizabeth Plaza for the toilet site but after taking a walk around the area and considering options decided at a council meeting on December 19 to put in an unconditional offer on 58 Clyde St.
Mayor Bryan Cadogan said the critical component to a successful destination toilet site was location, and the council was excited to have secured the central site.
We now have the opportunity to bring vibrancy and increased commercial activity to our CBD while addressing many other requirements, like additional car parking, and opening up the flow between Clyde St and The Warehouse,” Mr Cadogan said.
“Along with rejuvenating the aesthetics by removing an old building that has been empty for an extended period of time, we have the room now to create something special that will be a defining statement of the newfound confidence in our district.”
Resident Belinda Mason agreed with the idea of removing an obvious eyesore and replacing it with a building that was “tastefully designed.”
“I think it’s a very good idea place the new destination toilets there, to keep the main street vibrant and relevant for locals and visitors as people are always looking for the toilets here,” Mrs Mason said.
“The design of it will, however, have to be handled very carefully and be tasteful.”
“I hope it will also have changing facilities and a parents’ room because that is something we need in the centre of our town, somewhere families with young children can go.”
“Then the council will have to think about security so that it stays nice and clean.”
Mr Cadogan believed there was an opportunity to also support retail space on the site.
The council plans to use $468,500 from the tourism infrastructure fund (TIF) towards building destination toilets in Milton and Balclutha.
It has budgeted additional funding to complete both projects as signalled in the council’s long-term plan.
“Central Goverment’s support to this project through the recently announced $468,500 contribution of TIF funding provided impetus at a crucial time, and we want to acknowledge what a tonic it is to have their support,” Mr Cadogan said.
Council communications co-ordinator Sue Wilkins said the council did not yet have a start date for development work on the Clyde St toilets.
Further planning was required, and the council had asked staff to revisit the initial proposals and concept drawings to look at ways to improve the site, now it had confirmation of where it was going.