Friday, October 07, 2011

A Subject of Convenience

With 'Plain Jane' remarking on the toilet provision at Botany Bay in her Thanet Gazette column today, I've written a letter for next week's paper, explaining, why the council deployed 'portaloos' while some of the main beach-side toilets around the coast were closed.

For readers who can't justify the extravagance of 60p to read it next week, this is what I wrote:

"The beginning of October set a new record for an Indian summer heat wave and in her column; ‘Plain Jane’ complains that the toilets at Botany Bay weren’t opened to meet the sudden rush of tourists to our beaches.

A number of our toilets around Thanet are open seasonally and in particular those surrounding our main beaches. Every year, the council opens these toilets for a specific period, usually closing them around the third week of September as the finances do not exist to keep them open all year round. The weather we had at the start of October was unique and hardly something that could have been easily planned for. Closing a public toilet involves shutting off the water supply, turning off the power, draining the system and boarding up the property against the ever present threat of vandalism. Therefore, it isn't as simple as Jane suggests, to quickly re-open a toilet again, once it's already been closed for the season.

To meet the sudden demand for the beaches out-of-season, the council quickly put ‘Portaloos’ in place at some strategic points. This clearly wasn’t ideal but it solved an immediate problem and I apologise if some people were inconvenienced.

I spent some time cycling around some of our beaches at the height of the good weather. I would hope that readers would agree that Thanet’s coastline was shown-off to its best, with a Mediterranean-like view and with a clean and attractive destination for both local and tourist visitors to enjoy."

Meanwhile, I've started putting a selection of my photos on Tumblr as well as having the larger library of aerial shots available from the Flickr link you can find on the blog sidebar.  There's no particular order, just some of my favourites over the years.

15 comments:

Tony Beachcomber said...

And there was me thinking that most people would use the sea. How could I be so wrong.

Peter Checksfield said...

Why is it that the local council (Canterbury?) who run the several toilets along the coast near Whitstable & Seasalter manage to keep them open all year round? Perhaps because they want to encourage all year round tourism such as cyclists & hikers, something that TDC should be doing...

DrM. said...

Very simple answer Peter!

Thanet has more public toilets than anyone else and sixteen miles of coastline...

In case you didn't notice, yesterday the Bank of England had to print £75 billion of money we don't have to try and defibrillate the economy. That might offer just a liitle insight into how serious things are now and that having ANY public toilets open off season is a financial challenge for local government

Peter Checksfield said...

How much does it actually cost to keep toilets open all year round? As none in Thanet (as far as I'm aware) actually employ attendants, then presumably all that would be needed is for someone to pop in their once or twice a week to give them a quick clean & check for loo roll etc?

DrM. said...

If only life were that simple Peter.

Take the number zero and reduce it by at least 18% and then you may have a grasp of how serious a challenge the public finances are facing going forward!

Peter Checksfield said...

Which still doesn't explain how other Kent councils are doing what TDC can't. Time to amalgamate perhaps.

DrM. said...

Because other councils have less toilets or manage their budgets and priorities differently or perhaps don't have the some problems we have? That said Thanet is in better financial shape than many Kent local authorities now hovering on the edge of a chasm. Be thankful for small mercies!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps paying any member of tdc a maximum of £70K would help alleviate the financial situation

DrM. said...

There aren't many people who earn over that scale in local government as that takes you right up to service directors.

That said, it's a small drop in a very large ocean where the overall deficit is involved and not a measure that could be easily implemented.

Let's say you gave everyone a 10% pay cut (let's remember that at the upper levels they also pay the higher rates of tax)

Even if you did, then the difference it would make would be tiny in contrast with the size of the hole in the public finances.

Anonymous said...

Simon, why spoil a good lefty theory that all our troubles stem from the exorbitant allowances paid to fat cat councillors. As for Peter, he is great at snide comments but hopeless at proving his case. Why you bother to respond sometimes is beyond me.

Peter Checksfield said...

Anon 8:13, Next time I use a public toilet in Seasalter during winter months I'll try to remember to take a photograph, getting someone to hold a newspaper next to it to prove the date. After all, I wouldn't want an anonymous contributor to message boards not believing me...

Nora Batty said...

Peter Checksfield is being deliberately provocative. Let it go man, for crying out loud.....there's more to life than scoring petty points. You seem determined to argue every answer given to you, either accept the answer or go away.

Peter Checksfield said...

I'm not arguing with anyone Ms Batty, just answer my accuser.

Love 'n' hugs. xxx

Anonymous said...

Hold a newspaper next to what, Peter. Not more saucy photographs?

Anonymous said...

Nora, many thanks for the concern for my well being but Peter really couldn't wind me up. He doesn't have the key and, in any event, what would life be without a little sparring from time to time. Talking of time it is mine for a nap.