INDEPENDENT Crotlieve Councillor Mark Gibbons has called upon the council to rubber stamp an “urgently needed” upgrade of Rostrevor village's public toilets.
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council(NMDC) have already committed to undertaking renovation work at the adjacent Rostrevor Men's Shed Building, and Councillor Gibbons believes that it makes sense to carry out work on toilets he believes are long overdue a revamp.
“I'm delighted with the council's response to the creation of a community hub within the village. There couldn't be a better time to do this work because there is an urgent need for new toilets, the current ones are like something out of the 1960's,” said Mr Gibbons.
The Independent councillor believes that the continued popularity of the village as a tourist destination and the exponential growth in footfall means that the current provision of public toilets are simply inadequate.
Mr Gibbons said of the current facilities: “There's people using it nearly every minute of the day and it would be sympathetic to the work that's already being done. Especially for the footfall and tourism that comes into the village, especially into The Square.
“The toilets need to have disability access, they're not fit for purpose when it comes to that.
“There is a review taking place at the minute of all facilities so mainly all the dots are joining up and I hope the council would make a positive decision on it,” said the councillor.
Mr Gibbons said that he has lobbied to the council on behalf of the community on the issue and is confident that the work can get approved.
“ In December 2018 our Council agreed to close the Rostrevor Men's Shed building to allow for remedial works to be undertaken.
The council have been fantastic. It's a good news story, I'm the founder of the Rostrevor Men's Shed then I got elected and I had to take a step back for obvious reasons. It was nice to take a step back and to see the project develop,” said Mr Gibbons.
“Now that this work has begun, I have contacted the Council regarding the public toilets that are connected to the building and I have asked officials to look into the possibility of starting a refurbishment project on this old and decaying public facility.
“Rostrevor has been in need of new public toilet facilities now for well over twenty years, and with works starting next door, there has never been a better opportunity to have these public toilets upgraded to an acceptable standard that the residents of Rostrevor deserve,” added the councillor.
Mr Gibbons did acknowledge that NMDC have to review each application on a case by case basis, but believes that Rostrevor has a more than pressing case for an upgrade on the current public toilet provision.
“One thing that I have learned over these first few months as a new Councillor is that there is a large number of council officials that make practical, common sense decisions regarding capital works and community projects.
“I do also understand that it isn't just as easy as clicking your fingers and it takes a huge amount of work from Council officials to get projects like this over the line, but I really believe this is an opportunity not to be missed regarding this issue,” he said.