Ten years is a long wait for the toilet, but that is exactly how long some ferry users have had to hold on. But there may be some relief later in the year.
The current status of the toilets both at ferry terminals and aboard inter-island ferries was the first item discussed at today’s (Tuesday) audit committee meeting following a report given by infrastructure manager John Smith.
Five ferry terminals currently have no available toilets; Lerwick, Symbister, Grutness, Fair Isle and Foula.
Councillor Ian Scott asked: “It’s 10 to 12 years since this problem was recognised, why exactly has it been that nothing has been done?”
Mr Smith said the cost of adapting old ferries was prohibitive and the use of portable cabins on board would severely limit car capacity. He also mentioned the possible construction of fixed links was also a factor.
Claire Christy of the marine and air operations department added some more positive news, saying: “In Symbister we have commissioned engineers to conduct an initial site investigation, and we are sharing that with the community. We will be tendering those works to get that installed.
“Grutness we have identified a combined meeting room and toilet facility designed by a local contractor. We have applied for and been successful in receiving the first stage of funding for that.”
She suggested the next phase of both projects will have happened by the spring or summer.
A portable cabin for Fair Isle was also mooted as a solution.