Crookwell toilets overflow on long weekend | Goulburn Post

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The proverbial hit the fan in Crookwell over the long weekend when a company accidentally drilled a hole straight through the sewer line. Toilets blocked up or overflowed into bathrooms, potentially placing Corcoran Place residents in a sticky situation. Fortunately, off-duty Upper Lachlan Shire Council staff broke off their weekend rest, and quickly repaired the damage. General manager Colleen Worthy said the damage was regrettable, but praised the staff’s fast response that stopped sewage from entering the water supply. READ ALSO Council’s sewerage treatment plant staff were notified of the blocked sewers late on the Saturday afternoon, Ms Worthy said. The treatment staff discovered that a private firm had drilled through the main sewer line. The water from the damaged sewer lines caused connections and toilets in Corcoran Place to block up and overflow. Council resolved the immediate problem, then worked with pipeline company Interflow to repair the damaged main sewer line. Heavy rain on Thursday delayed the completion of repairs. “Natural disasters and natural causes have provided a lot to deal with this year without any need for man-made problems,” Ms Worthy said. “It was commendable the staff were able to act efficiently and quickly. As a result of the quick action of Council staff, no sewage entered the river, and water that flowed to the sewerage treatment plant was all treated. “Some mud and silt also entered the STP with the excess flow but it was all handled by the treatment process.” We depend on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support. Did you know the Goulburn Post is now offering breaking news alerts and a weekly email newsletter? Keep up-to-date with all the local news: sign up below.

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Flush and Don’t Flash: Transparent Public Toilets Hit Tokyo Streets

The unusual idea behind the transparent public toilets comes from Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, whose wanted to break stereotypes about public restrooms being dirty and smelly places.

Transparent toilets have hit the Shibuya district of the Japanese capital as part of the Tokyo Toilet Project.

They are made of a completely transparent coloured material called smart glass. However, when a person enters such a toilet, the glass becomes opaque so no one is able to see the visitor.

Besides, the high-tech toilet also functions as a lantern to illuminate paths in parks during night-time.

The project, sponsored by the Nippon Foundation, and carried out by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, aims to upturn stereotypes about public toilets being “dirty and smelly” places.

The solution solves two key issues – first, a visitor can see whether the toilet is clean inside and, second, whether it’s busy or not.

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Derby District High School ‘forgotten’, as wobbling asbestos walls and ‘scary’ toilets spark outrage

As 63 schools across Western Australia welcome millions of dollars of capital works funding, one school in the Kimberley has again been left feeling “forgotten”, with facilities described as “unacceptable by any standard”.

Asbestos walls wobbling out of their frames, licks of paint that no longer stick, and female students “holding on” because the toilet facilities are so poor — these are some of the conditions at Derby District High School.

The conditions have parents and the wider community angry and desperately calling on the State Government to provide new high school buildings.

Built between 1957 and 1985, the school runs from kindergarten to Year 12 and has 634 students.

Of those students enrolled, 85 per cent are Indigenous — the highest proportion in the state.

In recent years, there have been upgrades to the kindergarten and primary school, including new classrooms and a performing arts centre for all years, which were welcomed by parents.

But Sarah Hardman, the chairperson of the school council, said the core facilities of the high school, like classrooms and bathrooms, had been addressed with only “band-aid” fixes for decades.

Sarah Hardman, the chair of the Derby school council, described the school as falling into a state of disrepair.(ABC: Andrew Seabourne)

Some areas of the high school haven’t had major works since they were built over 50 years ago.

“It looks dirty, it looks grimy, there are holes in walls, there are old ventilation and air-conditioning units, rust cancer throughout the building, and the maintenance is very difficult because of the level of asbestos,” she said.

This month the State Government announced over $300 million of funding to “modernise” 63 schools across the state.

Despite lobbying, Derby got none.

“In the region, our facilities are probably the lowest standard within the Kimberley region, and to hear that again Derby has been forgotten about it was incredibly disappointing,” she said.

Ms Hardman said the toilets and shower blocks, in both the high school and primary school areas, were particularly bad.

“All the cubicles have had a cage put over the top of them, it’s graffitied, it’s really old building materials, it’s dark and it’s gloomy and it just needs to be replaced.

“And then the shower block in the middle school area is appalling, with real privacy issues — no proper shower screens or cubicles.”

The three showers, which service all 624 mainstream students in the school, are cold water only.

In the high school, there are only two toilets — one male and one female — for use by 200 students.

A white toilet cubicle with cage over top, graffiti on wall and sink in corner.
The only female toilet available for girls in Years 8 to 12(ABC: Tyne Logan)

Impacts on attendance, staff retention

Shire president Geoff Haerewa said for a town with so many social issues, the state of the high school was not good enough.

“We’ve got a large proportion of our district where children come from dysfunctional families,” he said.

There is also a view that the school facilities are one of the leading causes of falling high school attendance and staff retention, as well-intentioned teachers struggle in to engage students in the “out of date” classroom and parents send their children to Broome or Perth for upper school.

The school had 22 principles in 14 years up to last year.

Politicians aware

A head and shoulders shot of WA Education Minister Sue Ellery talking during a media conference.
Sue Ellery says the Government has begun a feasibility study on upgrades to the showers, toilets and laundry facilities at Derby District High School(ABC News)

The school is well and truly on politicians’ radars.

In July last year, following a tour of the school from young students and parents, Senator Dean Smith wrote to Education Minister Sue Ellery describing the toilet facilities for senior high school students as “unacceptable by any standard”.

“Anyone that has taken the time to go behind the fence at Derby would be outraged to see the poor quality of building infrastructure and students, parents and teachers have to endure in 2020,” he said.

He said it needed to be remedied immediately.

The halls at Derby District High School
There are calls for the high school classrooms to be replaced, and new toilets and showers built.(ABC: Tyne Logan)

The Derby/West Kimberley Shire also gave up their time with treasurer Ben Wyatt to show him the school on a visit to Derby in June.

Education Minister Sue Ellery said they “recognised” they needed to upgrade the bathroom facilities and were already acting on it.

“An architect has already had a look at what is needed in terms of parents legitimate concerns about toilets, laundry and shower facilities,” she said.

“A feasibility study is being done now.

“While they were there they also took the opportunity to look elsewhere.”

But Ms Ellery would not give a timeframe or guarantee the facilities would be replaced.

Asked why Derby did not receive funding in the latest announcement, Ms Ellery said it was a “mixed process”.

“There are over 800 schools, over 50 per cent of those schools are over 50 years of age, so we certainly couldn’t fit them all in that one announcement,” she said.

She said it did not reflect the Derby school not being a priority.

“We are taking their concerns seriously,” she said.

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