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Mogo toilet block identified as too far, substandard, unsafe and an embarrassment

Eurobodalla Councillors heard first hand of the exasperation and frustration of the Mogo Progress Association and more recently of members of the Mogo Chamber of Commerce over Council's continued disregard of their pleas for a toilet block to be built in the centre of town. In making a presentation to Council during Public Forum the owner of the Mogo Lolly Shop offered anecdotes of desperate visitors to the town defecating behind shops and peeing on fences. She also spoke of one case where an eight year old cross the busy Tomakin Road on her own trying to seek out toilet paper for her mother who was on the toilet.

The toilets, though recently repainted, are considered non compliant with a range of standards that renders them all but useless. They are located at the southern end of the town, well distant from shops and cafes. To access them requires crossing the busy Tomakin Road and on arrival the narrow dimensions of the entrances and the cubicles renders them unuasable to the disabled. They were also identified as being remote, poorly lit and considered unsafe to use after hours. A seventy page petition was tabled however the expected motion to request Council to provide a report on the costs and possibilities of providing a toilet to the central John Street Reserve was not forthcoming. Councillors heard that the Tomakin Road toilet was one of many that are assessed on their usage and that toilets are prioritised on those numbers. Oddly the Mogo toilet block has fallen through the cracks, most likely because it is underutilised due to being so substandard and so far removed from the township that Council may well have assessed it as a low priority, irrespective of now being petitioned for over thirty years. The toilet has been referred to as an embarrassment to the region that attempts to draw higher tourism visitation to towns like Mogo. Councillors learnt that bus tours for the elderly that enjoy the many towns along the South East do not consider Mogo as its toilets are too far to walk for their passengers and are of such a poor standard of reliable cleanliness and of safety that they choose not to stop in the town and go elsewhere.

Above: The Mogo community sought funding via My Community Project in 2019 to provide the basic needs of the disabled and elderly, an accessible bathroom with parenting facilities in the centre of Mogo Village and to provide a dignified facility that allows a carer to fit into the bathroom with the person(s) requiring assistance.

In terms of compliance with Disability access the toilets are also understood to fail as they do not provide enough room for a carer to assist yet Council continue to refuse any requests to recognise the need for mid town toilets. The petition tabled included photos of the facilities. While the councillors could well have requested to have a report prepared that outlined the costs and possibilities they failed to do so taking instead the advice of a Council Executive member that the Tomakin Road toilet block will be reassessed in 2020 and the priority of the request would be established based on their algorithms. Also what was revealed was that the Petition was originally in Council's hands in March 2019 and that had it come to the chamber earlier the other Councillors may well have moved to have a report drafted in readiness for the budget required that would have seen the new toilet block delivered in time for this summer when numbers of visitors in Mogo swell. Instead it was revealed that the Petition was withheld as a political move to see if funds from State and Federal governments might be first secured. As a result of such a scheme any hope for the new Mogo Toilets now rests on number crunching in 2020, most likely by a new Council, who will once again take the advice of staff that "there is a process and if we move away from that process and do this toilet block before another which village or town will miss out?" as was their comment in regards to the refurbishment of Albert Ryan Park toilets. It would have been a simple matter for Councillors to request staff, under their delegated authority, to provide a report yet they failed to do so. Instead the 70 pages of signatures on the petition was noted as received.

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