North Ayrshire Council and Cumbrae Community Development Company (CCDC) agreed that from 1 April 2017, the Isle of Cumbrae public toilets would be managed by CCDC.
Chairperson Stephen Dobbin stressed at the time of transfer that “the challenge is how we build on the assets and sustain these facilities to support tourism for the island”.
CEO Michael Bertram stated “we engaged with council for the best part of a year, to ensure that we got the very best deal for our community and visitors” and added that CCDC determined that they would operate the five toilets blocks for the summer season, which would give the Community Trust ample time to assess accurate running and maintenance costs.
CCDC together with both North Ayrshire Council and other community groups embarked on a programme to bring the toilets up to a decent standard worthy of the name “community facilities”.
Kelburn Windfarm Community Fund Initiative granted £3,500 to CCDC to carry out upgrading works and manage urgent repairs.
CCDC awarded the cleaning contract to Suki McGregor, a local businessperson. Suki affectionately adopted the title as the official ‘Cumbrae Cludgie Cleaner’ and has become something of internet sensation due to her daily video blog.
An enthusiastic Suki describes her new role as “the loveliest job in a little paradise island” adding “day one of cleaning was pretty grim, but now the toilets are at a certain standard and no longer smell, it’s about keeping them nice and adding wee touches along the way, like soaps and hand creams.
CCDC is needing to raise over £10,000 per annum to keep these facilities open. The cost of each facility, on average, is made up of normal daily cleaning, weekend and bank holiday servicing, consumables, electricity, water and sewerage, and maintenance.
Michael Bertram stated that visitors can either make a donation to one of the many collection boxes around the islands shops or direct to CCDC offices at Garrison House.
Cumbrae Elderly Forum have adopted the famous Crocodile Rock toilets and are encouraging other groups or individuals to adopt a similar approach to saving Cumbrae Toilets.
Cumbrae Councillor and CCDC Director, Alan Hill added ”I am really proud of the way that the local community has risen to the challenge over this issue. The crocodile rock toilets are already light years better than they were under council management and over time the same will be true for the remaining blocks. There are exciting plans being developed for these, so watch this space.”