“We are talking about the dignity of human beings.”
Councillor Susai Benjamin’s impassioned words were reserved for one of the more unusual topics before Blacktown Council last week: the right to use the toilet.
The council has ordered Blacktown Kmart to provide public toilets at the 24-hour store within the next 60 days.
Cr Benjamin said the council made a “gentle and reasonable” approach in January, when they received several complaints about the lack of amenities. He said Kmart and the company that owns the 9200 square-metre site, Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC), had “refused to budge”.
“It’s time we remind them who we are, and remind them of their responsibility to the community,” Cr Benjamin said.
Mayor Stephen Bali said it was “outrageous” that QIC refused to provide “basic amenities” to customers.
“Kmart Blacktown serves thousands of customers every day, and the community and council rightly expect there should be public toilets in such a store,” Cr Bali said.
“We hope the issue can be resolved amicably but should Kmart not cooperate we will consider all options to provide this very basic level of amenity.”
Development and design director Glennys James said if the company refused to comply, the council could take them to the NSW Land and Environment Court.
A store manager and a Kmart spokeswoman both declined to comment, saying the case was a legal matter.