A NEW toilet block might not seem like a typical reason to celebrate or the obvious inspiration for a mayoral column, but bear with me.
Right now, in many places across the shire, there are construction works underway to replace or create brand new public amenities.
Back in 2016, council learned that there was a round of government infrastructure grants on the horizon - it was in the pipeline, if you will.
We saw an opportunity to get funding for some projects that would really make a difference to the liveability of our shire.
We conducted a community survey and asked for your help to prioritise possible grants. And you answered!
Public toilet blocks consistently rated near the top of your lists of facilities that either didn't exist or were in need of upgrading.
Now, public toilets aren't fancy and take it from me, they make for awkward ribbon cutting events.
But the reality is that good public amenities make our parks and playgrounds more useful, more enjoyable and more relaxing.
They make it possible for elderly people and those with accessibility requirements to have independence.
The result is a better experience for community members and a boost to our economy which benefits from longer tourist stays.
The new fully-accessible amenities for the Crescent Head pool are a prefabricated drop-in facility, complete with change rooms. Due to be completed by early September, these amenities will change the whole experience for families, who will no longer have to leave the grounds just to get changed or go to the bathroom.
In the heart of Kempsey CBD, the Clyde St car park is a vital access point for our businesses, cafes and services. Part of the $700k car park upgrade, funded by council and the NSW Government under the Stronger Country Communities Fund, is a new multi-cubicle amenities block.
With a safe, accessible design and linked by pathways between the parking bays and shops, this facility will be a huge improvement. And no more music!
Work is also about to start on our 'loos with views' amenities facility on the riverbank in Frederickton, and an upgrade to the facility at Blackbird Flat Reserve is the second toilet to be delivered as part of the Recovery program after the new block at Willawarrin.
So yes, let's celebrate our toilets! To turn community feedback on the facilities you wanted into facilities built is a huge reason for celebration.