Plans to place a portable urinal on Oxford St on Friday and Saturday nights have been criticised by local businesses with the 2010 Business Partnership threatening to organise an “old-fashioned pissing contest” if another location is not found.
2010 Business Partnership president Lawrence Gibbons wrote to the City of Sydney to complain about the location for the urinal after discovering council’s plans in late October.
“Local businesses in Darlinghurst and Surry Hills are greatly troubled by the City of Sydney’s plans to place an open air portable urinal directly on Oxford Street,” Gibbons wrote.
“The proposed site on Oxford Street (across the Street from the Oxford Square Shopping Centre) is appalling, particularly given that the selected site is within metres of Oxford Square, where a number of far more appropriate locations can be found.
“Please be advised that if Council does locate an open air urinal on Oxford Street, we will hold a community protest at the site. Local businesses will organise an old fashioned pissing content complete with pictures of some well known local politicians serving as bullseyes.”
The Star Observer understands that the urinal, which is one of a number the city is trialling over the weekend, will be installed at 10pm tonight and will be removed at 7am to be emptied before returning on Saturday night.
Independent City of Sydney councillor Irene Doutney will take business concerns about the urinal to a council meeting on Monday night.
A City of Sydney spokesman said the urinal was being placed on Oxford St to curb public urination
“Every weekend, residents and visitors to Oxford Street deal with the sight and overpowering smell of people urinating in doorways, on the streets and in other public places,” the spokesman said.
“This is a trial, and if the urinal is not supported by the community, it will be moved.”
“The location has been chosen after consultation with the community, consideration of complaints about public urination from residents and local businesses, and advice from our experienced cleansing staff. Practical issues like access for the contractors to pump out the urinals have also been considered.
“Our contractors tell us that another location suggested by a member of the public is not suitable because the contractors would need to block traffic on Oxford Street for longer to install and pump out the urinal, and because it is too close to a fence, raising access and safety issues.
“We understand some people may not want to see or be near the urinals. But the alternative is even more unpleasant. If the portable urinals are not there, people will urinate in the streets.
City of Sydney Late Night Economy Manager Suzie Matthews said trials of portable urinals conducted earlier in the year had been overwhelmingly successful with more than 75 per cent of people surveyed wanting the urinals returned and extended to other locations.
“The trials also pointed to the fact we need to provide accessible facilities for women.”
“We are all working towards a successful summer time for our late night economy and putting a stop to offensive and anti social behaviour is an important part of that,”
Matthews said the discussion paper released last week, “OPEN SYDNEY: Future directions for Sydney at night”, canvassed a range of other options.
“These include making all existing public toilets in the City accessible round the clock and removing the 50 cent fee to all ‘automated pay toilets’ in Sydney.
“We will also look at installing more permanent public toilets or French style urinals in key locations across Sydney.
“One option we are looking at and currently being used overseas is hydraulic ‘pop-up’ urinals which can be deployed automatically in the evening or at other peak times.”
Other portable urinal locations being trialled over the weekend include Taylor Square and Hyde Park South, while the city will trial its first female portable urinal next to the Town Hall.