Tweed not flushed with outside toilets
By PETER CATON
LISMORE can keep the honour of being Australia's outdoor dunny capital. Tweed residents prefer to flush - and do it indoors.
Lismore City Council has earned the reputation of backyard loo leader with an estimated 400 composting toilets in its area and a 33 per cent increase in the number of people seeking to install them in the past four years.
But Tweed Shire Council says very few have been approved here and it has only had a handful of inquiries.
The Council's environment and health manager Geoff Edwards says he is happy for the neighbouring council to "hang on" to its honour.
He said the choice of composting toilets ? which often use a solar-powered fan to take away odours and hasten decomposition of waste ? was one for individuals, but few people in the Tweed had opted for them.
In fact they were mainly used by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service in areas such as Mt Warning National Park and the Stotts Creek Nature Reserve, and by the NSW Roads and Traffic Authority at roadside rest areas. Mr Edwards said he believed the RTA was even looking at replacing some of their composting toilets because of the high level of maintenance required.
"Composting toilets are only as good as the work somebody is prepared to put into them to make them successful - and it's not pleasant work," he said.
"The Hare Krishnas had one installed (at the hare Krishna farm at Eungella) and they took it out.
"With the effort that has to be put in on a regular basis to turn the materials, you have to have someone pretty dedicated."
And in the real estate-conscious Tweed, Mr Edwards believes composting toilets are a turn-off to people wanting to maintain a property's value.
"If you were looking to buy a house and it had a composting toilet in it, it wouldn't increase the value. I would think it would be the other way," he said.
Mr Edwards said the Council had judged composting toilets unsuitable for any of its parks.
"They don't react real well to a sudden load. If you have a park where four to five people go to the toilet for half-a-day and suddenly you get a busload of tourists, it doesn't cope too well."
Recent Lismore City Council records indicate the outdoor dunny is not only making a comeback but in some cases becoming a work of art.
Homeowners living in Lismore and the surrounding hills - unlike those in the Tweed Valley - are reportedly turning increasingly to the composting loos as a water- saving measure.