Australia forced to spend $400k on a public loo as Instagrammers swamp tiny landmark

t seems that problematic Instagrammers are at it again, driving the people of Perth to invest a whopping $400,000 (nearly £220,000) in a new toilet to serve the masses.

Ask the average person what the most photographed place in Western Australia’s biggest city is and they’d probably guess at Elizabeth Quay, Cathedral Square or the Bell Tower in Barrack Square.

But they’d be wrong. The most photographed spot, according to CNN, is a small, bright blue wooden house in the middle of the Swan River, just off busy Mounts Bay Road. And it’s all thanks to Instagram.

As more social media users flock to the hard-to-reach house in order to snap a picture at the Crawley Edge Boat Shed, issues have surfaced. “There has been an increase over the past few years of visitors to this area, with tour buses as well as self-driven visitors stopping here for photo opportunities,” the minutes from a recent Perth city council meeting read.

Bell Tower
You’d be forgiven for thinking that Bell Tower was Perth’s most photographed site CREDIT: GETTY

Not only are visitors parking on nearby residential streets and crossing the busy road in front of on-coming traffic, but the closest public toilets to the site are at the Narrows Gardens, around 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometres) away.

“Visitors have been utilising Zafferano’s restaurant facilities located within the Old Swan Brewery,” the minutes state. “With the increase in pedestrian traffic numbers, the manager of this restaurant has raised several complaints, as these visitors are disrupting his regular business and the patronage to it. He has documented occasions of verbal abuse and vandalism from members of the public as well as additional costs associated with the additional usage of his toilet facility.”

The solution? The city has decided to build its first ‘stand-alone’ solar-powered toilet at Quarry Point – between the Old Swan Brewery building and the Instagram magnet.

“Its bespoke design, befitting of its prominent location was developed by Hames Sharley Architects and is fitting for the area, as well as being a robust, simple built form,” the minutes state.

But this functional yet stylish building will come at a hefty price. “This final design solution then underwent the public Tender process, and the tendered prices received from that process range from $278,275.67 though to $397,580.00.”

However, the minutes continue to state that “the preferred contractors price was $364,800.00 (a 10 per cent construction contingency is recommended) which brings the total project value to $401,280.”

That’s a cost of over $400,000 for a toilet – all to meet the needs of Instagrammers aspiring to be influencers. Great news for the local tourism industry, but perhaps not so ideal for local residents, who risk becoming another victim of being ‘liked to death’.

Indeed, this is the second proposed site for the facilities after local residents opposed the first suggested location. The minutes state that “while it was initially thought the facility could be installed closer to the Old Swan Brewery building, the infrastructure and flora in the area did not allow for a safe excavation process. Residents were also not supportive of a public facility in this location.”

Now that a second, more appropriate location has been identified, work on the site is anticipated to commence soon with a view to having the restrooms completed by the end of August 2019.

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