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Public toilets are part of Treasure Island budget talks

TREASURE ISLAND — Complaints about people urinating in the dunes or even inside Sunset Beach neighborhoods could be alleviated if the city installs toilets at beach parks.

"If crowds are still going to come down to Sunset Beach, we need to address restroom facilities," City Manager Reid Silverboard told the commission during recent budget discussions.

Silverboard is considering putting in public toilets at Weckesser Park, located at 90th Avenue and W Gulf Boulevard, and at Sunset Vista Park, located at Gulf Boulevard and W Gulf Boulevard.

Restrooms are already available at the Beach Pavilion at 8000 W Gulf Blvd. and at the city's newly acquired beach park at 10400 Gulf Blvd.

One issue, particularly in times of tight budgets, is the cost.

A wheelchair-accessible, two-stall unit with lavatories would cost about $45,000, according to city officials.

Earlier this year, Caddy's and the city installed portable toilets to accommodate spring break crowds.

Silverboard said using portable toilets becomes "quite expensive" and is not visually aesthetic, particularly as a permanent solution.

"The residents do not like having the port-a-potties there," Silverboard said. "They get pretty funky, pretty quick."

Coward said she was opposed to putting "anything that looks tacky" on the beach.

Commissioner Ed Gayton Jr. agreed. "I don't think anyone is going to be in favor of Port-O-Lets down there," he said.

Silverboard also said the city "cannot rely on people using Caddy's for restroom facilities."

That prompted a sharp rebuttal from Commissioner Alan Bildz, who represents Sunset Beach.

"Caddy's is the draw," Bildz said. "The problem is not the city; it's the visitors going to Caddy's."

Commissioner Carol Coward disagreed, saying it was "not fair" to blame Caddy's for the total influx of beach visitors this year.

"It may be one factor, but it is not 100 percent of the problem," she said.

Before deciding to spend money on permanent or portable facilities, the commission plans to discuss the issue with Sunset Beach residents at a workshop session Aug. 6 at 6 p.m.

Public toilets are part of Treasure Island budget talks 07/28/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 28, 2009 3:28pm]
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