Poor choice for Omaha toilets
There are many issues relating to the build of the 98sqm, extravagantly sized and extremely expensive toilet block in William Fraser Park, Omaha Beach (MM Apr 26).
How do you explain a $1.2 million spend on a toilet facility at a time when Auckland Council should be operating under fiscal restraints after reporting another annual $900 million debt? Beth Houlbrooke’s use of the accounting term – depreciation fund – as the funding source does not mask the fact that this is an extreme expense for a public sanitation facility that has a peak time of only three weeks of the year, plus some weekends. I would suggest around 42 days annually. Plus, $137,000 was spent on the existing toilets under the surf club approximately three years ago.
Another issue would be the designated location. This was decided after a desktop analysis of two locations, the second being on the far side of the park. William Fraser Reserve is a small public park regularly used by both the locals and the wider Auckland community for family and group gatherings, picnics and day trips due to the shade area, cricket games, local community exercise classes plus of course the children’s playground to name just a few. The toilet block due to is size (12.8m x 7.7m) disadvantages disabled people and parents in parked vehicles from being able to view the park and the playground.
The building plus its exclusion zone, due to the nature of this type of facility, significantly diminishes the parks useable area. Few parents want a public toilet alongside a playground due to the often associated less desirable activity.
Council has stated the building site as being within a flood zone. At a time of rising sea levels and recent increased Council classification of the flood zones in the Omaha area, it seems ludicrous to suggest the lowest area on the reserve is the best location for the toilet block. The site has gone well underwater at least four times in the last 24 months (see pic left).
A far more obvious site for the toilet clock location would have been behind the Surf Club sheds, adjacent to the top car park, closer to the existing drainage system, easily sign posted for public to find, and close to serve both the retail outlets and the beach goers – many who would pass these on their way to the beach .
Beautiful Omaha Beach’s popularity will continue to grow over the years with area’s developments and expansion of new homes. Beaches far smaller than Omaha have public toilets dotted along the beach in other public access areas. The parking facilities at William Fraser are already exhausted at peak time so surely it would be prudent to direct and develop the other main public reserves utilising Pukemateko reserve and Inanga Reserve.
Fiona Davis, Omaha
Re. the letter from John and Barbara Maltby (MM Apr 11). I understand that initially there were petitions from Point Wells residents requesting Auckland Transport to provide a bus service. AT complied with the hope that residents from there and Omaha would be prepared to take advantage of the opportunity to leave their transport at home, resulting in less cars on our over-crowded road and less carbon in the atmosphere.
I have chosen not to own a car and, therefore, I am dependent on the buses. It is pleasurable, stress-free travel. The buses are clean, the drivers are courteous, helpful and experienced. This does mean compromise and adjustment in arranging appointments to meet the schedules for the services provided.
Is this not a better way? Is it not time that we, as individuals, take the climate scientists seriously and do whatever we can, however insignificant it seems to be. We can choose to see it this way, as an opportunity, a gift from Auckland Transport and, in turn, because rates are making it possible, a gift to those unable, for various reasons, to drive themselves.
If bussing supplements our individual transportation (and rail takes over from trucking) what a difference this would make to our contribution to the effects of a warming and disastrously polluted planet.
To Mr Griffin, of Sandspit (MM Apr 11), I have faith that the potential to evolve to a group in Omaha that will use the buses is here (is everywhere) as humankind is evolving toward a new way of being a more open, generous and inclusive consciousness.
Mary-Anne Austin, Omaha