A FORMER Bayswater councillor says he’s prepared to face gaol to stop a sculpture at the Seventh Avenue bridge being replaced with a public toilet.
“This is very important to Maylands residents,” says veteran councillor Terry Gaunt, who retired from council in 2007.
“We’ll be prepared to stand in front of machines — and I told the mayor this as well — that I’d go to gaol if they started pulling this down.”
A local businesswoman has also vowed to cancel a redevelopment of the old post office building into a wine bar if the move goes ahead.
Marie Havila says customers wouldn’t be interested in sitting in the bar’s alfresco area if the view was a public dunny.
In February Bayswater councillors voted 8-2 to install an automated public toilet at the bridge, using $140,000 of state government funding.
Despite the council spending years searching for an appropriate location, Mr Gaunt says there wasn’t enough consultation once the bridge site was chosen, with some residents only finding out on the morning of the council decision.
Bayswater staff said they’d got the thumbs up from the Maylands Historical and Peninsula Association and the Maylands Residents and Ratepayers Association, but they only spoke to the president of each organisation, who happens to be the same person – Roger Tomlins.
The council also got support for the move from the Maylands Business Association.
While Mr Tomlins was fine with the location, it turns out many of his members are not. When MRRA member Stella Grey ran a poll on the group’s Facebook page, only 55 of the 134 respondents wanted a toilet at the bridge.
Mr Gaunt says the sculpture has historic significance; it was made using sleepers from the old 1913 wooden bridge, which was demolished in 2014 to make way for the new one.
Heritage experts were brought in to consult on the sculpture’s construction and position, and he says it’ll be pretty much hidden away if it’s relocated to the other side of the tracks.
Mr Gaunt has written to the council asking it to place the resolution on hold to give more time for consultation.
Bayswater mayor Dan Bull says “council has made the decision and it’s unable to be rescinded.
“There is a need for a public toilet in this part of the Maylands town centre, so I think on balance it’s the best decision under the circumstances,” he said.
by DAVID BELL