OIB board scales back on portable restrooms

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By Brian Slattery

Ocean Isle Beach bathrooms should come and go in the summer like the tourists, according to residents.

At the OIB town meeting Tuesday morning, smaller and temporary facilities were preferred to larger and permanent toilets.

Town administrator Daisy Ivey said town staff looked at plans for either a stick-built facility or a portable trailer-type restroom, similar to the facility on Sunset Beach.

Commissioner D.B. Grantham asked how many bathrooms Sunset Beach’s restroom trailer included.

Ivey said three in the women’s room and two in the men’s side.

But Mayor Debbie Smith said they didn’t go in the men’s room to check.

Mayor Pro Tem Dean Walters asked why not.

“We did not want to appear to be peeping,” Smith said.

Locations town staff is considering on the east end of the island were moved away from residences at Shallotte Boulevard and Sixth Street.

Site options presented Tuesday morning included the median at Shallotte Boulevard and Seventh Street, and parking areas on the side of Shallotte Boulevard up the road from Seventh Street toward Ferry Landing Park.

Ivey presented board members with cost estimates for the bathrooms. Buying a portable, trailer-type unit would cost between $36,000-$59,000.

Hiring a contractor to build a bathroom would cost $68,000-$71,000.

Ivey said the town put $65,000 in the budget last year for use if it moved forward on the project.

During public comments, Cherri Cheek said the town should consider a more cost-efficient unit.

“I’m concerned with the position of the bathroom. I’m concerned with the cost to taxpayers. I think five toilets is overkill,” she said.

Larry Cheek also promoted a less involved process, setting out two Port-o-johns near the ferry landing area through tourist season so the town doesn’t have to connect the facilities to the water and sewer systems.

“We would not have the ongoing water and sewer costs. I would love to save as much money as we can. I’d rather spend money on stabilizing the beach than bathrooms.”

Smith asked for a show of hands from the audience on how many people were against adding restrooms of any kind.

Seven people raised their hands.

One resident said Ocean Isle Beach doesn’t need a portable trailer restroom the size used in Sunset Beach because there are less people on their beach during tourist season.

Bob Williams said a larger bathroom was overkill.

“We only need one restroom each (for men and women),” he said.

He added the closer to the gazebo at Ferry Landing Park the town could put the restrooms, the better.

After hearing from the audience, commissioners started proposing the town scale back to smaller restrooms as well.

“I believe we can still accomplish this a cheaper way,” commissioner Bob Williams said.

“Let’s walk before we run,” Grantham added.

Let’s use Port-o-johns as a starting place, and put them down from the residential area (at Shallotte Boulevard and Sixth Street).”

Resident Robert Smith proposed they check with golf courses that rent restrooms for tournaments and find out the cost on a three-month basis.

Walters said from the comments in the meeting, commissioners had a general consensus everyone wants to do something about adding restrooms.

“Start with the smallest (restrooms that are offered), but let the staff work on this,” Walters said.

He added there is a budget meeting at the end of May when staff can update the board on restrooms.


Brian Slattery is a staff writer for The Brunswick Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or bslattery@brunswickbeacon.com.