• Media release

15 May 2023

Street Elevation 230223

Plans for the new shower/toilet facility at Taramea Bay in Riverton are proceeding.

The striking new structure has been designed to have a long service life and its site has been chosen to be located on higher ground to mitigate the effects of seawater inundation.

This is a real problem at the existing toilet block just 12 metres away, near the site of the former soundshell, where surface flooding is a regular occurrence during high sea level events.

Attached is an image showing inundation of the existing toilet block and architects’ drawings of the new building to be completed.

Flooding is just one the reasons rebuilding on the existing site was not viable. Others include:

  • Accessible parking had to be considered.
  • There is a large stormwater main running from the street to the beach that could not be built over.
  • The chosen site is the highest point in the immediate area.
  • The site sits within the boundary of the Council-owned reserve.
  • The site supports the future development of the playground as part of the wider Taramea Bay redevelopment.
  • The existing toilets can remain open during the new construction.

The new structure will have quite a compact footprint, being 6.76m wide, 6m long (with an additional shower block adding an extra 2m on one side) and around 3m high at the highest points of its curved roof.

An objection to the new site was received from a nearby business owner, who asked that the toilet be built in a different location. While Southland District Council and the Oraka Aparima Community Board acknowledge the concerns of the business owner, moving the facility would add at least an extra $40,000 to an already expensive project that would have to be borne by all Southland ratepayers or community board funds.

The additional cost of placing it at an alternative location would be driven by a range of factors, not the least of which is the extra earthworks and permanent materials required to build up another site to elevate the structure above the high-water mark.

At the current projected cost of more than $620,000 this facility will be one of the most expensive toilets Southland District Council has built. Since the proposal was first put forward more than three years ago the price has risen by over $200,000. A huge contributing factor is a 45% increase in the price of construction materials in the past two years.

However, the facility will be one to be proud of, bringing benefits for visitors, local businesses and residents alike for many years to come. It is a key component in a wider master plan for the development of Taramea Bay.

Many older Southlanders will fondly remember the area, a much-loved destination for families. Visitors will continue to go there and enjoy the high-quality, clean, safe toilets available.

The Oraka Aparima Community Board endorses the construction of the new facility.

Chairman Michael Weusten says: “The Oraka Aparima Community Board, following a long review of all factors, believe that this new shower/toilet building is the best, most fiscally responsible option that can be taken and this new amenity will prove to be a huge asset to growing the use of the Taramea Bay playground, especially once the redevelopment of the expanded playground is completed.”

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