Douglas Borough Council’s new public toilets on Queen’s Promenade are now open.
The project, to remove and landscape over the old underground toilets and install the above-ground two-cubicle unit, represents a £104,000 investment by the Council.
Designed by Healthmatic Limited and installed by local firm Stewart Clague Services, the semi-automatic unisex toilets are, in the main, of the same format as those at the southern end of the promenade, with vandal-resistant easy-to-clean interiors and baby-changing facilities. Flush and hand wash systems are activated by infrared sensors. The charge for use of the toilets remains at 20p.
The new unit differs from the others, however, in that it features a ‘living roof’ of sedum and artwork on its sea-facing wall detailing civilian internment during the First World War. More artwork, illustrating civilian internment during the Second World War, will be added to the north-facing aspect.
Environmental Services Committee Chair Councillor Ritchie McNicholl said: ‘Installing these new toilets is in response to a survey the Council conducted which identified a clear need for public conveniences at this end of the promenade. It also complements the Council’s commitment to town centre regeneration and the future investment it will be making in the scheme to upgrade Douglas promenade.
‘The living roof of sedum is not only low maintenance but also provides insulation and serves as a biodiversity-boosting measure, so reflects the Island’s current ranking as the only entire nation in the world to hold UNESCO Biosphere Reserve status.
‘It was felt that the unit’s prominent position would lend itself to displaying narrative and images that recount something of the fascinating history of the role played by the promenade during the First and Second World Wars as a site for civilian internment camps. In this we are grateful to Manx National Heritage for providing archive material and content, and what better year for this story to be told than in 2018, the centenary of the end of the First World War.’
The Mayor of Douglas, Councillor Jon Joughin JP, added: ‘The quality of a town’s public conveniences is an indicator of a local authority’s commitment to providing high-quality public amenities. The investment Douglas is making in its public toilets sends out an unequivocal message that even in these challenging economic times the Council is determined that the Island’s capital should project a positive image as a desirable place to live, work and visit.’