Continued vandalism has led to the closure of some toilets in Douglas – on the Promenade and in Noble’s Park.
Douglas Council has confirmed the spate of attacks and general anti-social behaviour has left them with little choice. The closures have been instigated to minimise damage and also while repairs are awaited.
Last month, the local authority introduced a 20p charge to use the remaining Noble’s Park facilities due to ongoing vandalism, which includes attempted fires. The payment machine nearest to the ‘splashzone’ is switched off whilst the ‘splashzone’ operates, as well as during TT and Manx Grand Prix fortnight.
Councillor Falk Horning, Chair of the Council’s Environmental Services Committee, says the facilities at Noble’s Park may have to be closed in the evening if the situation does not improve.
‘We are all extremely proud of Noble’s Park and want the whole Island to be proud which is why an updated masterplan is currently being prepared with the Council continually investing in the park’s facilities.
‘However, for them to be enjoyed by everyone, we naturally want to maintain them to a good standard and, while we’d rather not go down this route, we are prepared to close the toilets for a period of time during the evenings if it prevents further damage and cost to Douglas ratepayers.
‘As it stands, some of the toilets in other blocks in the Capital have already had to be shut while we carry out repairs.’
Cases of vandalism have generally been lower during school holidays and weekends with the damage caused during school term, at lunchtimes and immediately after school closes.
Councillor Horning believes there needs to be controlled access to maintain the toilet blocks.
He continued: ‘The team has had to clean and repair the facilities on numerous occasions following incidents of anti-social behaviour. These range from damage to the basins and toilet roll holders to graffiti and vandals blocking the toilets.
‘The facilities are well-used but, at the same time, we cannot afford to keep on spending money if people do not respect them. The toilets belong to the community and need to be looked after and we would welcome any information leading to the identification of those responsible.
‘For a number of years now, there has been a small charge to use certain toilets in the capital which allows them to be open 24 hours a day. Of course, we would prefer to keep the toilets open at night but if this anti-social behaviour continues, we may have no option.’