Queenstown 'toilets of shame' get new doors (finally)

by Peter Newport - Apr 12, 2024

The Queenstown Lakes District Council has told Crux that it wants to “draw a line” under our interest in the Earnslaw Park toilets and their constant state of disrepair.

The QLDC says it's just "normal wear and tear" - 'Nothing to see here' is the message.

The problem is that the ratepayer funds these constant repairs and Crux gets equally constant messages from our readers saying the council opted for cheap doors on the $580,000, 2013 toilet block. There have been at least six repair projects focussed on the faulty doors since 2013.

Work on the new doors was in progress when Crux visited this week - if not in full flow.

Even as recently as 2022 the council got a quote for 'proper' new doors and, as we understand it, opted not to take that option.

One Crux reader told us in 2022, that the doors had been in “disarray for months” - “three out of ten of the toilets were permanently locked", while others had closed signs due to "compressed cardboard doors falling to bits".

Council’s parks and reserves contracts manager Adrian Hoddinott told Crux in 2022 that the council had been “caught out” with the Earnslaw toilets.

We visited the toilets this week (April 11, 2024) to find a crew from Fairview in the process of replacing the doors with something that looked more substantial than “compressed cardboard”.

It's not been a happy life for the Earnslaw Park toilet doors. Perhaps they should have been specified differently from day one?

The work was not quite in full flow but it looked as though the new doors might be in place by the end of this week (Friday, April 12).

As to the cost of all of this drama, the QLDC won’t say.

“We’re unable to share the specific amount due to commercial sensitivity but it’s very much in line with our expectations for this type of work.

“The work is being completed as soon as possible given current market lead times for materials and services. Temporary doors were installed as an interim measure to maintain the level of service expected by our residents and visitors before these replacement doors were obtained and installed.“

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