Yobs cause $55,000 damage to toilets

By Amy McGillivray news@bayofplentytimes.co.nz

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Vandals have caused more than $55,000 worth of damage to city public toilets this year.

The Strand toilet block has had three soap dispensers stolen in two months and hand basins ripped off the walls and smashed every few months, city council spokesman Marcel Currin said.

Toilet seats had also been smashed and changing room benches sent on fire.

The cost and details of the damage can today be revealed after the Bay of Plenty Times published the results of a public toilet survey on Tuesday.

Mr Currin revealed about $480,000 was spent on the cleaning, maintenance and repairs of the city's 73 public toilets each year.

Of the 73 toilets, 46 currently had soap dispensers and the council was installing units in the remaining blocks as funding allowed, he said.

"High-use toilets all have soap dispensers.

"Soap dispenser units - and public toilets in general - are high vandalism targets, so we have to balance the amount of money we spend on new equipment with the amount we spend on repairs."

Replacing vandalised toilet fittings was always prioritised over installing soap dispensers in low-use toilets such as those at Turret Rd, Mr Currin said.

Some high-use toilets were used by 1000 people each month, even in the off-season.

Every toilet was cleaned and restocked once a day with high-use areas being cleaned at least twice.

"Obviously 100 per cent soap coverage would be ideal.

"We are working slowly toward that but it would be much more achievable within the budget if we didn't have to keep fixing vandalism damage instead."

This week's published survey examined cleanliness, soap, toilet paper, drying facilities, working locks and lighting.

It found Tauranga's facilities rated well for cleanliness but only half of those bathrooms surveyed had soap.

The survey was carried out after a university study found a lack of soap in public toilets was a health concern.

The Papamoa Domain block scored lowest and Mount Maunganui Mean Beach toilets the highest.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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