Nasty toilets set to go

2015-12-01 06:00

A local safety concern and breeding ground for antisocial behaviour is set to be demolished.

The toilet block at Long Beach has for some years been a hotspot for antisocial and criminal behaviour, some of which includes public drinking and alleged prostitution and drug dealing, explains Simon’s Town Community Police Forum’s David Erickson.

Despite periodic interventions by law enforcement, there has been no improvement and the area is “considered unsafe during the night hours,” Erickson insists.

“The Community Police Forum has participated in operations conducted by social services, the displaced people’s unit and other departments, aimed at resolving the problem of homeless people who frequently sleep rough, either in or around the toilets or on Long Beach itself.

“On occasion we have found entire families with young children living in the area,” he says.

“The area is next to Admiralty House. Prior to the Royal Navy departure in 1957 it was properly policed by the Navy shore patrol, which had zero tolerance for any misbehaviour. This is no longer the case.”

Previously the facility was used by beachgoers in the early and late hours of the day, but the building has been vandalised continually, unsavoury activities were taking place and the buildings were not in use anymore, says Belinda Walker, mayoral committee member for community services and special projects.

The best way to make the beach safer is to have the toilets demolished, Erickson believes.

However, no date has been made available for the demolition.

“The administrative process is under way and the sport, recreation and amenities department will be able to complete the work within a month of receiving authorisation,” Walker says.

Whilst the toilets have obviously provided a service for users of Long Beach over the years, the facility has become a magnet “for disreputable and dangerous drifters”, Erickson says. “The best way to improve public safety at Long Beach is to remove the buildings.”

But the demolition will also have a negative impact on beachgoers, Erickson says.

“Visitors to Long Beach will have a long walk to the nearest public toilet, which is in St George’s Street on the south side of Jubilee Square. The vagrants will continue to do what they always do – which is to defecate whenever and wherever they feel the need. We are likely to find an increasing hazard to public health as a result,” he says.

An upgraded facility is available immediately behind the toilet block, which is currently being used by beachgoers, Walker says.

However, concerns created by vagrancy are not exclusive to the beach, she adds, and daytime patrols are conducted to reduce the effects on the town centre by law enforcement officers and private security guards, paid for by local business owners and residents.

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