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Toilet's unisex transformation to end gay beat hotspot

| 06.07,09. 02:21 PM |

Toilet's unisex transformation to end gay beat hotspot

July 06, 2009 12:00am

A PUBLIC toilet which was closed because of unruly activity will reopen as a unisex facility.

Once a hotspot for drug users and gay sex, the toilet in Catherine St, Lilyfield will now result in men answering the call of nature alongside mothers using the facility to change their baby's nappies.

Building a separate facility will cost Leichhardt Council ratepayers $100,000 but reopening the existing toilet will cost council just $3000.

Architects told council new toilets to be built in the long term should be moved to a more public spot.

Oleander bushes near the refurbished toilet will be dug out, and it will be moved into the eyeline of a children's playground to improve toilet surveillance.

While there will be no urinals, there will be solar power, disability access, cycle parking and underground water.

A report to council said residents wanted the toilet knocked down and replaced with new ones that "discourage anti-social behaviour" but that a combined male and female design could give them a chance to get used to the future plans.

"Council could address the immediate concerns by opening the female toilet and converting this to a unisex toilet at minimal cost," the report said.

"Given that the council has not installed a unisex toilet in the past, this would also given the community the chance to see how this facility may work when developing design options for the new facility."

Police have identified the block at Lilyfield as one of the most popular beat areas in Sydney for men having sex with men.

Architects Factory 7 told Leichhardt Council the 1960s toilet needed a complete overhaul.

"The design of the existing facility lends itself to the anti-social behaviour problems outlined within the brief," the architects report said.


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