The great success Orkney is having in its tourist numbers coupled with the crisis (totally related) in its public toilet provision is about to be addressed. The local authority has commissioned a pilot project which will see 31 new toilets installed throughout the islands at visitor hot spots.
The amazing hi- tech toilets are the latest in Japanese design and are being imported directly from a factory in Kashiwa. No expense has been spared by our local council as the need for more toilets in Orkney is desperate. Hygiene is a number one factor in the design with the facilities being totally hands free and motion activated.
Entry to one is by a mere swipe of your credit/ debit card which will deduct the payment directly from your account. The amount paid will be related to the time spent. Once inside the toilet a list of instructions may at first appear baffling as time constraints meant a full English language version could not be provided but there are pictorial images and labels to guide the user. A spokesperson for the council assured The Orkney News that once people got used to them it would soon be easy.
Concern has been raised by local tourist guide Cygnet Swanson. He said:
” It is great that we are getting more toilets. Due to the short time many visitors have in Orkney if they are on a cruise ship or such like it is also good that there is a time limit on them. I am a wee bit concerned that some of my customers may not be finished in them with the time limit of 3.5 minutes when the door opens automatically. They may be caught ‘inflagrante’ to use a phrase from our EU friends.”
The news from the council has been welcomed by Hysterical Scotland who have many sites on our islands where there are no toilet facilities. They said:
“Hysterical Scotland welcomes this initiative by the local authority. It has been an issue at our most popular sites where visitors in the past have ‘made their own arrangements.’ We will be undertaking a study and survey of users to look at rolling this out and to encourage other local authorities to install similar facilities.”
The toilets although extremely hi tech inside have been designed to blend in with the local landscape on the outside in accordance with local and government planning regulations. This has added an additional cost but without this feature the toilets would not have been given the go ahead.
It looks like the tourist industry in Orkney will be flushed with success.
Reporter: Fergus Graemsay