Human faeces, rubbish and sanitary products were strewn across the paths at Omaha last month in what lifeguards have called a “public health issue”.
Omaha lifeguard Matt Craig says on a predictably busy Sunday morning, surf lifesavers were greeted at the beach by overflowing rubbish bins and toilets.
He said because the toilets had no tissue paper, someone had defecated in the outdoor shower.
With 180 junior surfers and scores of families about to turn up for the day, lifeguards decided to take action and clean up the beachside facilities.
They disposed of the rubbish, replaced sanitary supplies, cleaned the shower, and helped contractors scrub the toilets.
“We couldn’t let the junior surfers be exposed to it. We were telling mothers and children to come and use the surf club facilities because we didn’t want them going near the public toilets,” Matt says.
“Omaha has the biggest concentration of wealth in the area over the summer – I don’t understand how conditions could get this terrible. I’ve visited developing countries that were cleaner.
“We need public services that are designed to handle summer crowds. The surf club anticipates crowds and puts on extra lifeguards – it’s the same thing.”
Auckland Council acting head of operational management and maintenance Paul Amaral acknowledged that the facilities were not up to standard.
“We apologise to members of the public for the lack of clean toilets at Omaha beach last month. We have followed up with our contractor to ensure it does not happen again,” he said.
“In peak seasons contractors are required to adjust schedules to maintain toilets at a hygienic and functional standard. If there are issues with cleanliness or any other maintenance requirements, we encourage members of the public to report this to us by calling 09 301 0101.”
He added that the toilets at Omaha were due to be upgraded to a stand-alone facility within the next two years.