Arisaig public toilets – early summer 2017 update
We are delighted with the recent upgrade of our accessible public toilet! We are very grateful indeed to Peter Fleming for carrying out the work on the community’s behalf, and for working to such a high standard.
The improvements comply with recommendations for accessible toilets, including the use of colour contrasting materials for visually impaired users, in addition to providing equipment suited to the needs of physically disabled users. The improved use of the space available will make the toilet more easily accessible to less mobile users.
The photos below show the work which has been done so far – there is still some painting to be done, and more photos will follow.
May/June 2014 – Arisaig’s newly painted (inside & out) public toilets
Late April/early May 2014
Painting has begun . . . .
and the colour scheme is . . . . white and seaside blue.
Arisaig Community Trust finally took ownership of the public toilets on 28 May 2013! We are now putting together a funding package to upgrade them. Local fundraising will play a major part in this, and our lunches at this year’s Arisaig Craft Fair will be specifically for the Toilet Fund. We have installed wall-fitted donation boxes in the ladies and gents vestibules, together with a ‘story’ of the community road to ownership. This will help to both raise awareness of the fact that Arisaig public toilets are community- run NOT council-run, and raise some funds towards refurbishment.
After much discussion we have decided to go for an eco-refurb of the whole toilet block – what level we achieve will be dependent on the level of funds we can raise. Our ambition is to install a solar-powered hot water supply, water-efficient cisterns, high quality energy efficient lighting and hand driers, and easily cleaned wall and floor coverings.
Local outrage at Highland Council’s decision to close the public conveniences in Arisaig village at the height of the 2011 summer season resulted in Arisaig Community Trust taking on the responsibility, from July 1st, for keeping them open.
Arisaig, Caol and Kinlochleven were the Lochaber loos set for closure at the end of June, together with a further ten Highland-wide. The shock decision by Highland Council gave very little time for alternative solutions to be put into place but the directors of Arisaig Community Trust were up for the challenge and spent two months in discussion with the Council, prior to agreeing to take over the toilets.
Chair of ACT, Ann Martin, said at the time ‘Although we will be in receipt of an annual sum of over £3000 Highland Comfort Scheme grant, we have done our sums and the running costs will be well over £6000 a year. We need to do a lot of local fundraising but we’re sure Arisaig residents will support us in keeping this essential service open. This is absolutely what the Trust was set up to do – to save a local service from closure. Although it’s been a difficult couple of months with a lot of hard work put in by the directors, we never had any doubt about taking them on. They are the first public toilets travellers come across after leaving Fort William and are very well used by bus parties, lorry drivers and boat users as well as car passengers – and locals. To close them would have been madness’.
Things have moved on since then, and we are at last progressing on the toilet front. Highland Council has attended to some, if not all, of the repairs it promised to do before handing the toilets over to ACT. We’re waiting for the wind to die down (will it ever?) before tackling the lopping of the overhanging trees. We’ve had very generous offers of support from the business community, including the provision of an ongoing supply of paper consumables, a free deep clean of the premises, and the supply of renovation materials – some at cost, and some donated, from a Fort William company. These offers, together with the early support we received from local businesses, are a huge help, and we are most grateful to all concerned.
The deep clean of the premises will take place on Monday 21 November, followed shortly after by some painting and decorating, and general refurbishment. If anyone is a dab hand with a paintbrush, or has good carpentry skills and can offer a few hours of help, we’d be delighted to hear from you – do phone or send an email (email@example.com). This is a community venture, so it would be great to get real community input, and we can all feel a sense of pride and ownership.
Stop press – 10.11.11 – offers of help already coming in!
Summer 2012 update – new doors, new splash-backs – now we need new flushes! And still the Highland Council hasn’t finalised the sale of the toilets to the community. Meanwhile, one local and one ‘at a distance’ business continue to give us their generous support with loo consumables . . .