Destinations sure to draw crowds to town

The other side

With Andrew Roe

It seems hard to believe but it is now over five years since Sam and I made the big move from Central Southland to the Clutha Valley. Apart from stopping for a pee during the occasional trip to Dunedin, I had previously spent very little time in Balclutha itself, or its surrounds.

But now that we live here, we have come to appreciate how much the area offers. Fantastic coastlines and forests to explore, picturesque farming landscapes and the communities they support and, of course, Mata-Au, the beautiful Clutha River itself. And, as if all that wasn’t enough, Balclutha now has its very own destination toilets!

Call me culturally challenged, but I can’t recall ever hearing the term ‘‘destination toilets’’ before, and I’m not really sure how they differ from non-destination toilets. But I’m really proud we’ve got them. It has been said that the journey is more important than the destination, but, when it comes to toilets, I don’t believe that necessarily holds true!

In grappling with the destination concept, certain scenarios come to mind. I envisage, for example, a family on the first morning of the school holidays. After locking the toilet door, Dad announces with excitement ‘‘Cross your legs kids, I’m treating you all to a trip to Clyde Street!’’

Or maybe it’s more about the flow-on benefits for the local economy. As the new toilets attract more and more people to the town centre, hopefully a proportion will check out other businesses during their visit. It’s quite plausible that the family, initially in town to use the loo, wanders across the street and has lunch at a cafe. Or maybe a Dunedin couple, drawn to town by our destination toilets, later finds their way to the car yard and buys a new car!

At my work, for example, we are looking to increase our vet team in response to the opening of this fantastic new amenity. It’s highly likely that someone, after visiting the toilets will think, ‘‘Well, I’m already in town now; why not get the cat spayed while I’m here?’’

If there was one thing that Sam and I missed when leaving Southland, it was the close availability of a cinema. We really enjoy an evening at the movies, but with Dunedin more than an hour away, we don’t get to go very often. That all changed last week of course, with the long-anticipated opening of the Riveria Cinema in the almost completed Te Pou O Mata-Au, our very impressive new community hub. Life just keeps on getting better with, not one, but two new destinations in our wonderful town!