A voluntary scheme will encourage Sydney retailers, cafes and other businesses to open their toilets to the public.
The open door policy, coupled with 15 new public toilets in city streets and parks, is part of the City of Sydney’s plan to provide more high-quality, accessible public amenities.
A draft strategy to go before the next Council meeting will make quality public toilets available in every suburb and major park, with no-one having to walk more than 400 metres to find a public toilet in the city and village centres.
The strategy also recommends retractable pop-up urinals, which are widely used in Europe, for the entertainment precincts of Kings Cross, George Street and Oxford Street.
The City operates about half of the local government area’s 117 public toilet facilities, with the remainder provided by shopping centres and government agencies, including the Royal Botanic Gardens and RailCorp.
City research reveals people want more toilets that are easier to find and that the most popular public toilets are in shopping centres.
Some overseas cities display signs advising people their toilets are available for public use and the City’s Director of Operations, Garry Harding, said the City would consider a trial here.
“This strategy is designed to give visitors to Sydney more clean, easily accessible public toilets. We want to investigate whether business has a role to play in doing that,” Mr Harding said.
“Shopping centres attract the highest number of people using public toilets, and we’d like to discuss with other businesses the issues involved in making their toilets available to the public.
“We know an issue for the public is not only the number of toilets available, but finding them, so the strategy recommends more maps, signs and other measures to help people locate them.
“Earlier this year we removed the 50 cent charge on some automated public toilets to make them more accessible, and this draft plan is designed to continue to make Sydney a safer, cleaner more liveable city.”
The draft plan also recommends providing accessible public toilets at Town Hall House, and working with other agencies to install public toilets in King Street in Newtown, at Barangaroo and along the George Street light rail corridor.
Implementing the plan is estimated to cost $8.26 million, including around $6 million for new facilities and $1 million for the demolition and adaptive re-use of five redundant toilet facilities.
New facilities are planned for these parks:
Sydney Park, Alexandria;
Victoria Park, Chippendale;
Glebe Foreshore Park, Glebe;
Green Park, Darlinghurst;
Observatory Hill Park, Millers Point; and
Wentworth Park, Glebe.
And for these city streets:
William Street, Darlinghurst;
Darlinghurst Road, Kings Cross;
Cowper Wharf Road, Woolloomooloo;
Lawson Square, Redfern;
Railway Square, Haymarket;
The Hub Square, King Street, Newtown;
Oxford Street, Paddington;
Regent Street, Waterloo; and
Erskineville Road, Erskineville.
The plan will go before Council later this year after community feedback has been received.