Friday October 09 2009
IT WAS quite literally money flushed down the toilet.
A council admitted yesterday it spent €250,000 storing an unused “superloo”
which was mothballed after just one day.
And because it originally signed a 20-year deal with the toilet’s owners, Fingal County Council
was forced to pay €25,000 a year for 10
years to store it.
Finally, this year, the council was freed of its obligations. A spokeswoman for Fingal County Council
said last night: “I can confirm that in 1999 Fingal County Council entered an agreement with JC Decaux
to lease a ‘Universal Superloo’ as an addition to existing public toilet facilities in the county.
“Regrettably, when the unit was installed in Swords, objections were made locally
and the facility had to be withdrawn.
Efforts were made over subsequent years to find a suitable location for the facility elsewhere
in the county, but despite public consultation the council failed to
get local agreement at any of the proposed sites.”
The original contract was for £17,000 a year to lease and maintain the unit.
But because the fees were inflation indexed, the rate jumped to approximately
€30,000 a year.
The council recently terminated its contract with JC Decaux so that it would not be on the hook
for another 10 years – but only after spending €25,000 a year
of taxpayers’ money to honour the original deal.
Officials from JC Decaux could not be reached for comment last night.
Local residents had objected to the toilet for a variety of reasons, including its “spaceshiplike appearance”.
- Allison Bray
Thursday, 19 April 2007
Calls to pull the chain on town's plush loo 'love nest'
help putting this story up ...
PARIS is paseé, Rome is too retro, and Venice is oh soooo last century. No, when it comes to passion there is only one centre truly flush with romance, the superloo in Tuam.
It seems that Cupid has been directing a barrage of arrows at the town's plush WC.
Amorous couples on the way home in the wee small hours have found the commodious surroundings and exceptional taste - not to mention exceptional value - simply irresistible.
The public convenience is just a little too convenient.
Now the town's councillors have assumed the role of passion killers and are out to pull the chain on the cut-price love nest.
Mayor Sally Ann Flanagan said last night she was "horrified" to hear that people are taking advantage of the privacy the WC offers, adding that it was her understanding that there was a sensor on the structure to stop two people entering it at the same time.
"As far as I'm aware that is the situation with superloos in Galway city and if this is not the case in Tuam, then we must demand that such a sensor be put in place to stop this disgraceful carry on," she said.
"I had a fear that this might happen and it is shocking that people would use the loo for this sort of activity. This is inconveniencing others who want to use the loo and it is a disgrace that it should be happening."
Several young people who were waiting to use the town centre loo after leaving a disco at the weekend said they were amazed at how long they had to wait.
But they were doubly amazed when a courting couple emerged arm in arm from the loo.
"We understand that the loo was malfunctioning at the time but this is no excuse for such behaviour at 1.30am as people were queuing up to use the loo," said one young man who observed the incident.
The young man and his girlfriend, as well as several others, were waiting to use the facility at the time.
Tuam gardai said they had not received any complaint about this activity at the town public toilet.
Since it was erected at the aptly-named Shambles Car Park last month, the superloo has been beset with problems.
It has also annoyed many people that it costs 50c to "spend a penny" at the facility.
The new superloo - which has already courted controversy for taking money and then failing to open its doors - was also blamed for destroying one woman's clothes when the water jets went off at the wrong time.
Earlier this month when Mayor Flanagan, Cllr Imelda Kelly and others tried to use the loo before a council meeting they discovered that while the facility was taking coins in the slot, it was not opening to accept other deposits. Nor was it returning the coins.
Yesterday the loo was again out of order but it was at least returning coins put in the slot.
"The only good thing about the facility isthat the problems wehave highlighted inTuam are mirrored at superloos in othertowns and perhaps this will put pressure on the powers that be to solve the problem," said the Mayor.
The superloo, which is said to cost approximately €500,000 has been acquired on a lease and maintenance deal by Galway Co Council of around €35,000 per year.
Public money down the toilet:
“TIME TO DECOMMISSION THE SUPERLOO!” SAYS CLON SF COUNCILLOR
Speaking at the recent Budget meeting of Clonakilty Town Council, Sinn Féin’s Cionnaith Ó Súilleabháin welcomed the fact that councillors had unanimously agreed
with his proposal at the pre-budget meeting to cut Councillors expenses at this difficult time- and he once again called for the local “Superloo” to the “de-commissioned”.
After the toughest budget meeting in several years, Sinn Féin praised all involved which saw just a 0.35% increase in the commercial rates for the town. Ó Súilleabháin
said that it was important at this time to support businesses; particularly town centre-based family run businesses and those working out of rented premises.
“There are lots of financial demands and challenges and many businesses are under pressure. The Town Council has a duty to support them as best we can in order
to help them survive the economic downturn”.
Ó Súilleabháin said he also welcomed the fact that some other councillors are now looking at the viability of the town’s “Superloo”. The Sinn Féin councillor has
been opposed to the “operation” since it was first put in place nine years ago, due to the enormous cost and it’s impracticality.
He stated: “This year the Town Council has allocated €39,000 for the operation of the Public Toilet. I have always stated that the council has a duty to
provide a public convenience for the public. However, I have been against this type of public toilet since it was first put in place nine years ago.
The council is spending huge amounts of money every year in a contract with the providers.
It started off at £18,000 and has risen every year since by several thousand. What do we get for it? A facility that only one person can use at a time;
that is unusable for around 5 minutes after each use
as it “self cleans”; a serviceman driving into town daily to replace toilet
paper, soap, etc. and check the mechanics!
And still on occasions when people want to use it, very often the door won’t open! In fact very often at night, you can see people using it for shelter as they urinate against the outside walls of it!
I also seriously question the statement by council officials that the income from the toilet is €2,000 every year? At 25 cents/use, this equates to 22 uses per day! No one in Clonakilty would believe this figure.”
He said that the money spent every year on the toilet was never justified in his view. “If the council had spent this money repaying a loan to build a proper facility,
and employ a local person to maintain and service it, they would still have change out of what money we are effectively flushing down the toilet every year!”
In response, council officials said they would “look into it!”