Call to reopen Ganavan toilets at weekends

Public toilet sign.

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A plea has been made for the public toilets at Ganavan Sands to be opened at weekends. 

Oban Community Council heard that Dougie Graham, who runs a snack van at the site, had offered Argyll and Bute Council to open, clean and close the loos, which traditionally get locked up at the end of October.

But the offer had been turned down by the council, said community council convenor Marri Malloy, who questioned councillors who represent Oban on the local authority.

‘Can I ask the reason why?’ she said. ‘I know that people who do the walk on Saturday, they had the keys to get into the toilets, so why was Dougie refused when he was wanting to do it off his own back?’

Councillor Kieron Green, a member of Argyll and Bute, said his understanding of the situation was that the arrangement would have required the council to provide a ‘little bit’ of a reduction in the costs of the licence for the snack van but agreement could not be reached.

Roddy McCuish, depute provost for Argyll and Bute Council, told the meeting there was ‘no reason whatsoever’ why the toilets could not be opened at no cost to the council, and could potentially generate a small income.

He said he had identified funding to do so and suggested opening Friday-Sunday, or Saturday-Sunday.

It was suggested that a letter be written to Argyll and Bute asking for an explanation.

Councillor Elaine Robertson said she, too, wanted to see the toilets opened at weekends and was waiting to hear back from Argyll and Bute Council.

Duncan Martin, vice convenor of the community council, agreed to write a letter.

After a long period of closure due to the pandemic, the toilets were reopened on July 6.

In August, the council’s business continuity committee agreed to an officer’s recommendation to keep 35 public conveniences open until the end of October.

Beyond that, between 10 and 15 would have to close with only a ‘core set’ to remain open across the region, it decided.

Strict new guidelines now demand more extensive cleaning of public toilets which has driven up costs in a year where council officials have faced a growing budget deficit.