A COUNCIL bid to save £8000 by shutting public loos at a Wester Ross beauty spot has sparked outrage.
The proposed closure of toilets at Kinlochewe, which is attracting more visitors from around the world thanks to the success of the NC500, is one of many measures being considered by the council as it tries to cut its spending by £15 million.
Torridon and Kinlochewe Community Council, which appealed for locals to comment on the idea, said: “One of the proposals is to close the public toilets at Kinlochewe Car Park completely, saving £6769.84 and £1201.26 in maintenance and cleaning.
“With the increase in traffic in recent years we had been hoping toilet provision would be increased rather than reduced. Toilets in Achnasheen, Applecross, Shieldaig and Torridon are open and much appreciated all year round. There is also a popular picnic spot by the river.”
Tracy McLachlan took to the community council’s Facebook page to voice her anger. She said: “So Kinlochewe loos will be like the ones at Rogie Falls – anyone been round the back there? The woods are full of mess and used tissue paper. Does Highland Council not understand that bodily functions are not an optional extra? If you need to go, you need to go, and if the only availability is in the woods or round the back of the building, messing up the environment and causing a health hazard, then that’s what people will do.
“Not to mention the scourge of motorhomes emptying their chemical toilets in the public loos. Now they will just empty them straight in the river instead. Far from closing them, Highland Council should be upgrading them for the increased NC500 traffic.”
Lynne Mcewan posted: “Toilets are not a luxury, they are essential. Such a paltry saving too. Shame on the council.”
And Jackie Wilson said: “I live near Poolewe, but I feel public toilets are essential for both Highland residents and visitors. People with health issues and the elderly can need toilets more frequently than perhaps our councillors realise. When travelling to Inverness, perhaps for a hospital appointment, are they expected to go by the roadside?”
Highland Council has suggested the possible use of a “comfort scheme” whereby businesses are encouraged to allow members of the public to use their facilities.
The Kinlochewe closure is one of several on the cards in Ross-shire. One community activist in Dingwall warned the closure of toilets and introduction of car parking charges in Dingwall could “sound the death knell” for the county town.