Newcastle's shiny new loo

ALMOST four years after Newcastle’s ‘‘demon dunny’’ was demolished, Newcastle City Council is set to replace the Scott Street public toilet block.

The toilet at the end of the Hunter Street Mall earned a reputation for its faulty doors that locked and unlocked themselves at random, often to the surprise of embarrassed users.

The block was demolished in 2008 and the council has stalled on plans for a replacement.

In 2009, tenders were called but not accepted because the council did not have sufficient funds available to complete the project.

A year later, the council stalled again because of GPT Group plans for a commercial development at the Hunter Street Mall site.

The collapse of the GPT plan meant that the only remaining public toilets in the CBD were beneath the council’s King Street car park, and these are locked after business hours.

Councillors will vote on Tuesday whether to build the new toilet, which will cost $252,910.

Councillor Sharon Claydon said the facilities were long overdue.

‘‘If we want shoppers and tourists back in the mall we’ve really got to provide some basic amenities,’’ Cr Claydon said.

The new toilet block will be the fourth to be built on the site, next to the bus stop at the end of the Hunter Street Mall, in about 40 years.

The previous toilet, installed in the early 1990s, was promoted as more eco-friendly and technologically advanced than its brick predecessors.

But it will most likely be remembered for its legendary faulty doors.

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