Community resolve brings public toilets

New public toilets have opened at the William Birch Pool as part of the upgrade of the William Birch Reserve.
The facilities are the only public toilets between between Waverley and Wanganui.
They will be opened at 8am every day and locked at dusk and will be cleaned every Tuesday, Friday and Sunday.
William Birch Pool was built in the 1930s and was once used as the Maxwell School pool. It is part of a heritage trail and has been a scenic attraction for visitors. However, in recent years the reserve has suffered from vandalism and reduced maintenance.
In 2009, Maxwell residents, including members of the local iwi attached to nearby Pakaraka Marae, approached the Wanganui District Council to have the pool area cleared and opened up, and to have a toilet block built.
A partnership was formed between the council and the local community for the installation and upkeep of a new toilet block, and maintenance of the reserve. Work began in winter to clear the pools, which had silted up. Groups of periodic detention workers worked on de-silting the pools, although bad weather in the spring meant the work had to be done several times.
The pools are not suitable for swimming, due to poor water quality.
New gates have been installed to restrict vehicle access to the reserve.
The pools are due to officially re-open this summer, although a date has not yet been set.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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