The City of Launceston has started work on a $600,000 redevelopment of the public toilets and parenting facilities in the Paterson St West multi-storey car park, which will include Northern Tasmania’s first ‘Changing Places’ accessible bathroom.
The project is part of the City of Launceston’s Accelerated Capital Works Program, an initiative of the Care and Recovery Package, Tasmania’s largest local government response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over five years the program will bring forward a range of targeted infrastructure upgrade and improvement projects across the municipality, aimed at sparking new economic activity and employment opportunities.
The program is designed to be agile, allowing the Council to bring forward necessary community projects, while also weighing demands on the local construction industry to ensure value for money.
The Paterson St West upgrade project will involve three elements: the construction of new parenting facilities, the replacement of the public toilets fronting Paterson St, and the construction of a new accessible ‘Changing Places’ bathroom.
Changing Places was launched in the UK in 2006, and today includes more than 150 accredited accessible public change rooms across Australia. Changing Places toilets are different to standard accessible toilets and provide extra features.
Secure access to the new Changing Places facility will be provided through the Master Locksmiths Access Key system; an initiative that allows people with a disability to have secure access to dedicated public facilities.
The Changing Places bathroom will include an ambulant toilet, shower, hand basin, change table and ceiling hoist. The new parenting facilities will include updated fittings and provide more a contemporary changing experience for Northern Tasmanian families.
The existing parenting room will be repurposed as a Council storage depot once the new facilities have been constructed. The public toilets on the Paterson St frontage of the building will also be replaced. As these toilets will be closed during construction, the nearest public toilets are located at Paterson Street East Car Park or Centreway Arcade.
Construction works are expected to take around four months.
Launceston Mayor Albert van Zetten said the parenting and public toilet facilities in the Paterson St West Car Park were quickly reaching the end of their asset life.
“We regularly hear from parents that having access to modern, high amenity parenting facilities is something they value,” Mayor van Zetten said. “The existing facilities are reaching their use by date and are no longer meeting the standards Launceston parents expect.
“I’m pleased that through this project we can replace our existing facilities with a more contemporary and more accessible offering for parents visiting our CBD.
“Importantly, by realigning the ground floor of the car park, we can undertake this work while keeping the existing parenting facilities open to the public.
“It’s also very pleasing to be installing Launceston’s first Changing Places accredited bathroom facilities, which will help make our CBD a more accessible place.”
Launceston Deputy Mayor Danny Gibson said the project aligned with the City of Launceston’s desire to become a more accessible city.
“We know that a 2016 survey showed more than 4,000 Launceston residents indicated they required help with core daily activities,” Cr Gibson said.
“Through projects like this — and through initiatives like the Council’s recently adopted Access Framework — it’s wonderful to see Launceston progressing on towards its goal of becoming more accessible.”