The answer came that the park was wonderful but why weren’t there any toilets? When a toddler needs to use the toilet they usually need to use it then and now. It is almost impossible for them to be able to wait until they get home, even if their home is across the road from the playground.
BeCA understands that Sunshine Coast Council determines which parks have toilets and which parks don’t. BeCA appreciates toilets are expensive facilities to maintain for Councils, they can attract the wrong sort of person, can be a magnet for children to play around, and can be the target of vandalism.
Despite these concerns, when a two year old needs to use the toilet it is usually there and now, especially where there is some exciting playground equipment to play on.
Council classes parks as “Community Parks” or “Neighbourhood Parks”. Neighbourhood parks are provided as extra play space for families who live on compact blocks or for children from the nearby neighbourhood to use. These parks are not entitled to have toilet facilities. One suspects that ongoing maintenance costs play a substantial part in what Council nominates as a Community Park or a Neighbourhood Park.
One also suspects that the guideline for which parks get a toilet block and which park doesn’t was created by someone without young children!
Community parks are for people from the local community and for people outside that community to use. These parks therefore have toilet blocks and are provided at Council expense or for Council to maintain.
Originally there wasn’t a toilet available at Canavan Gracie Recreation Reserve. It was only following BeCA agitation that a toilet block was provided using funds from the then Councillor. During discussions with Council prior to the provision of the toilet block, one Council representative was heard to ask, “Why wasn’t there a toilet block built here in the first place?”
People are not demanding a toilet block with several cubicles and another special disabled cubicle be provided, all they are asking for is a facility similar to the one provided at Little Mountain Common and in the photo above. A simple uni-sex facility to cater for those emergencies that happen with children.
It seems too that Neighbourhood Parks can have BBQ facilities as well, as we have seen at Arbour and at Bells Reach. It certainly makes it difficult to understand why free BBQ facilities are provided at a neighbourhood park but there isn’t a toilet available to use!
BeCA will continue to support the provision of toilet facilities at local parks where appropriate.