Opinion: Dear Cottesloe, get real and spend a penny on new toilets

Portable toilets on Cottesloe beach.
Portable toilets on Cottesloe beach.

COTTESLOE Council and its residents must get real and raise rates to build some new, decent toilets on the beach.

Leighton Beach, North Fremantle has airy and fresh facilities for number 1s and 2s, built as part of Fremantle Council’s refurbishment of that increasingly-popular beach, with polished concrete floors, a roof which lets air and light in, and clean, stainless steel fittings.

“They’re just lovely, aren’t they?” Cottesloe Residents and Ratepayers Association secretary Yvonne Hart said.

In comparison, Cottesloe’s main beach loos under the Indiana Restaurant are shut after a 15-year argument over who is responsible for the dunny brushes and bog roll.

When they were not shut, they were dark, dingy, often blocked and stank.

Could Cottesloe afford to build new dunnies? No.

The council is currently having to use part of its $9.1m sale of its depot to refurbish the nearby car park, and the argument – often voiced in the suburb – the State or Canberra, should chip for beachside renovations because not all beach users are from Cottesloe, is laughable.

Not all coffee drinkers in Fremantle are from that port city, and not all bush walkers in the Swan Hills are from Kalamunda, so why should Cottesloe be a special case?

The core of this premier dunny fiasco is Cottesloe is relatively tiny, with an operating budget around $10m and a philosophy of keeping rates increases so low – this year it was Perth’s lowest at 0.7 per cent – the few licks of paint seemingly holding the place together should be examined by science for alien technology.

Cottesloe must break out of its self-imposed cul-de-sac of infrastructure decay and raise rates substantially to build a new toilet block, and more.

Either that, or merge into a larger council, with its sometimes equally constrained neighbours, so even this most basic of services can be provided.