Aged and disabled have no place to go

HARRINGTON Community Action Group (HCAG) has kick-started its campaign to get new toilet facilties at Crowdy Head with a letter to the NSW Minister for Regional Infrastructure and Services, Andrew Stoner.

HCAG sent a letter requesting assistance with grants to demolish and construct a new facility on the current site which is located behind the surf club on Crowdy Street, and would include disabled toilets and change rooms. The group is also seeking to rally the support of Harrington Lions Club and Crowdy Head Surf Club.

HCAG secretary Joan Hall said the group would work to try to organise an on-site meeting in early 2014 with a representative from the NSW government, Harrington Lions Club, Crowdy Head Surf Club and HCAG.

Mrs Hall said the bid to improve the toilet facilities secured letters of support from St Paul's Aged Care, Anglican Care Storm Retirement Village, Valley Industries, Manning Valley Food Services, Manning Valley and Area Community Transport Group, Manning Valley Support Services and Bushland Health Group.

The cost of the project is tipped to be between $150,000 and $200,000, according to an estimate provided to HCAG by Greater Taree City Council. According to Mrs Hall, the project is not on council's agenda and so HCAG has decided to try to seek funds from alternate sources.

"The block has been there for at least 34 years," Mrs Hall said.

"It is long overdue for work and it floods when it rains. Something has to be done."

Mrs Hall said an increase in surf club members and the annual triathlon festival at Crowdy Head means there was an increasing demand for better facilities. Mrs Hall said it was important that all members of the community, including the aged and disabled, be able to access good toilet facilities at any time of the day.

She said the facilities were not listed on The National Public Toilet Map and that was a resource frequently accessed by people from all over Australia.

The only Crowdy Head toilet facility listed on the map is located at Muir Park on Pacific Drive. It does not have disability access.

The map identifies a further five toilets at Harrington. Three of the five have disability access and are located at Oxley Reserve in Crowdy Street, Harrington Boat Ramp on Harrington Road and in the Harrington business district.

Greater Taree City Council Parks Supervisor, Wayne Hull said council had identified the facility as a project in need of attention but added the "primary issue is funding".

"If we had the funds to allocate in that particular region, it would be a priority in terms of toilet facilities," Mr Hull said.

"When it was constructed it wasn't the best designed facility. The floor level could have been higher but it is also located in a low-lying area.

"There is not really anywhere else for the water to run." Mr Hull explained.

"Harrington has been particularly well served in terms of new toilet facilities. It was identified as a priority and now there are three in Harrington with disabled access."

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