Sit-in protest

A BAYSWATER real estate agent unhappy with Bayswater council’s plans to build a toilet at the foot of the Seventh Avenue bridge in Maylands delivered a code-brown protest from a portable loo on Saturday.

Locals have been kicking up a stink over the council’s lack of public consultation since the location was revealed in February.

King William Street-based real estate agent Steve Lay was so angry he lugged a portable toilet down to the site and filmed a video protest last Saturday (March 16)

“A lot of people think [it’s] a shithouse idea,” Mr Lay said in the video.

Interesting location

“I’m sure there’s another spot you could put it, maybe on the Public Transport Authority land closer to the actual train station, rather than putting it out here in an interesting location.”

Mr Lay said the bridge was an entry statement into Maylands and it was not a great look to “put a dunny right there”.

He called on Bayswater staffers to “take a long hard look at yourself…and actually go to the community, and do what you’re supposed to do and get community consultation, and not just whitewash it and shove it through and pretend you’ve done the right thing.”

Mr Lay, who has been credited with turning around the ailing Bayswater bowling club, said: “I think the community is really disappointed with this decision.”

At the Monday, March 18 meeting of the Maylands Historical and Peninsula Association, members voted 14-1 against relocating the bridge’s commemorative sculpture and replacing it with a public toilet.

• Steve Lay delivers a rousing speech on his portable toilet.

There’s no outhouse within 350m of the Maylands train station and locals have been complaining for nearly a decade about people peeing and defecating there.

The council initially wanted to install the toilet at the train station, but the Public Transport Authority repeatedly refused the request, citing concerns about who would maintain the loo and provide security.

But the decision’s already been made, and after enduring three weeks of second guessing over the location Bayswater councillor Catherine Ehrhardt posted a comprehensive explanation on her councillor Facebook page on the weekend.

While on council and previously being a local business owner, she’d worked for years to find a spot for the much-needed public toilet for Maylands’ town centre and exhausted many dead end options.

“The PTA have categorically said no to a public toilet in the old Parcels Office, and no to a public toilet being located anywhere on their land,” she posted on Facebook.

“Yes, Whatley Crescent is not the best location overall, and was no-ones first choice, but it is the best location that is available for use.”

The city-owned verges surrounding the train station have been suggested as a location by locals in the past couple of weeks, but Cr Ehrhardt says they are “not wide enough to house a public toilet, and there is also a gas main line that runs under the verge”.

by DAVID BELL

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