The saga of the toilets at Shellharbour Junction has been flushed away a year after the station opened.
Permanent toilets are now in operation at the entrance to the station, ending a year-long wait for commuters.
For most of 2015 commuters had to use temporary toilets, dubbed “Gareth’s gazebo” by Shellharbour MP Anna Watson – a reference to Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra Gareth Ward.
“While [the toilets] should have been built as part of the Shellharbour Junction Station - rather than as an optional extra - I am pleased that the community’s voice on the need for this new station to have readily available public toilets has been vindicated,” Ms Watson said.
Mr Ward, who acknowledged the toilets should have been included at the time of construction, responded by stating he campaigned for the permanent toilets as soon as he was aware of the oversight in the development.
“If Anna Watson thinks that she’s going to take credit for that addition or the train station, she’s got another thing coming because she had absolutely nothing to do with it,” Mr Ward said.
The $39 million station opened on November 22, 2014 and soon drew criticism for the fact the construction did not include any toilets.
The then Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian said the lack of toilets was because the government couldn’t wait to give residents access to the station but promised a loo would be built “in the coming months”.
The temporary toilet was put in place in February 2014, with Ms Berejiklian promising "the toilet will be open to customers this year, in 2015".
...[the toilets] should have been built as part of the Shellharbour Junction Station - rather than as an optional extra ..."Anna Watson
The permanent toilets were finally finished and opened in November.
Ms Watson questioned the extra cost incurred by the long delay for toilets and claimed that the government was “hiding” it.
Transport for NSW was asked how much extra cost the project incurred by not including the toilets at the time of construction.
“The cost of constructing the fully accessible toilet facility is included in the $39 million cost for delivery of the new Shellharbour Junction station,” a spokeswoman said.