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Robertson Park toilets take back seat again as council defers application

DESPITE previously settling on a location and lodging a development application, the Robertson Park toilets are still no closer to being built after the DA was deferred on Tuesday night.
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Council staff recommended approval for the block on the McNamara Street side of the park, southeast of the rotunda, however, councillors decided to defer the matter after Mojo Events and Promotions representative Simon Rollin, Orange Region Vignerons Association president David Crawley and FOOD Week president James Sweetapple voiced their concerns about losing valuable stallholder and seating space at night market events.

“The location in the middle of the park would impact our existing site layout. It’s a premier part of the event space,” Mr Rollin said.

“We would still need to provide temporary facilities, they wouldn’t provide the level of amenity we need.”

Mr Rollin suggested a better location would be near the CWA hall, or directing people to the Visitor Information Centre.

Councillor Neil Jones moved for the deferral in response to the concerns.

“For the first time, to my knowledge, we’ve heard from a group who are major users of Robertson Park. We haven’t explored that issue enough,” he said.

Councillor Reg Kidd said discussions needed to be reopened with the CWA to investigate.

“I was part of [earlier] negotiations with the CWA and people in the CWA group didn’t understand what it was all about,” he said.

“When I talk to members individually, they say that’s a great idea. They might have thought people would come in off the street, straight into the CWA hall, but that’s not true at all.”

Councillor Russell Turner said he opposed relying on the museum precinct for amenities.

“Byng Street is as busy, if not busier, than Summer Street. It’s totally dangerous to expect people to cross Byng Street,” he said.

Councillor Glenn Taylor, who has advocated for the toilets since 2001, did not speak during the debate and left the meeting promptly after the decision.

Robertson Park has had a long history of dunny dramas and here is but a taste:

2001: Councillor Glenn Taylor begins the push for toilets in Robertson Park.

2005: Toilets discussed, but eventually placed outside St Vincent de Paul Society building.

May 2011: Cr Taylor again raises the need for a facility in the park.

October 2011: Concept plans drawn up for stand-alone facility.

November 2011: Facility discussed, but project stalls when councillors suggest starting negotiations with the CWA.

February 2012: Councillors reject proposal for a pre-fabricated building and vote to re-open negotiations with the CWA to upgrade the CWA hall and open its toilets to the public.

March 2012: The CWA maintains opposition due to social implications.

January 2013: Development application for a three-cubicle automatic toilet block on McNamara Street put on display for public comment.

March 2013: Location opposed by former councillor Richard Niven and the police, the council puts off a final decision.

December 2013: CWA receives $10,000 to upgrade its facilities, secretary Deborah Marr says negotiations with the council for a toilet block are under way.

April 2014: The council and CWA reach an in-principle agreement for the CWA to consider supporting the location a toilet block near the CWA hall with a separate entrance, however members vote it down.

July 2014: Councillors support in favour of lodging a development application for a block along McNamara Street.

December 2014: Councillors defer a decision on the development application after objections from night market organisers, in order to pursue further discussions with the CWA.

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This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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