STAFF at a Lavington chemist have started petitioning for public toilets to be reopened after witnessing the desperation of people forced to relieve themselves in public.
Amenities at the for- mer Lavington Library are the closest ones available to shoppers at the Coles complex, but have been closed since June 2013.
Since then, staff at Mayos Chemmart Pharmacy have reported several incidents where customers have either wet their pants, squatted on the pavement or taken their children to relieve themselves on the grass because no public toilet was available.
Pharmacy assistant Vanessa Ayres said staff at the pharmacy received daily inquiries about the whereabouts of the nearest public toilets, which are located in Lavington Square.
Mrs Ayres started a petition a month ago and now has almost 400 signatures demanding facilities be made available closer to the Coles centre.
“It really is getting pretty desperate, we need an alternative, which is why we tried to give people the chance to voice their opinion through a petition,” she said.
“Customers are dem- anding the staff key for our toilets, we have been abused and had threats that we will lose customers because there are no toilets available.
“We have also had incidents of people squatting in front of our toilets and urinating on the concrete, then verbally abusing us when we asked what they were doing.
“I just want to see the toilets reopened so customers have a place to go and to keep their dignity.
“If they can’t do that — then we need another public toilet facility in this area.
“We already struggle as it is being one of numerous chemists in the area — then not having toilet facilities makes it that much harder.”
On two occasions Mrs Ayres has approached Albury Council about the issue and last week she took the petition to them.
The council said the decision to reopen the toilets in the former Lavington Library lay with YES Youth and Family Services, which is leasing the building.
Chief executive officer Di Glover said she had been unaware of the issue until contacted by The Border Mail last week.
“I’m more than happy to have a conversation with the chemist and the council about how it can be addressed,” she said.
“I have concerns about safety issues with it being a youth centre and the cost and maintenance of running a public facility, which we don’t see as our responsibility.”
The petition is expected to be handed to the YES Youth and Family Services.