Bega’s lack of public amenities have long been lamented, but it came to a head on Thursday with a a huge family event at Bega Park.
Bega Community Preschool held its end of year celebrations at the park, with an estimated 170 parents and carers plus all their respective children in attendance.
While new interactive play equipment, seats, tables and shade sails have been installed within the past two years, what remains distinctly lacking are toilets.
Bega is also the only main town across the shire to not have accessible public barbecue facilities (there is one at the Bega Cheese Heritage Centre, but it does not appear to have been used in quite some time).
Early childhood teacher at the preschool Annastasia Norris said everyone enjoying the festivities had to make the trek from the park around to the Bega Showground to use its toilet facilities.
“It’s really inconvenient, particularly for families with young children,” Ms Norris said. “When a four-year-old has to go, they have to go.”
READ MORE: Holding on for toilets at Bega Park
She said some parents were spotted resorting to taking their little ones behind trees at Bega Park, which leads to issues of hygiene for other park users.
“This is kind of undeveloped country stuff,” Ms Norris said on Friday.
“For such a great environment there it’s a real shame there are no toilets – it’s not like we don’t have the room.
“And toilets are essential - it’s not just a matter of ‘we’d like some’.”
When the playground was opened in March last year, council’s Anthony Basford said the Bega Pool, adjacent to the park, was due for an upgrade and dual use toilets for park and pool users were being considered by council.
No movement has been made, but council said this possibility would be looked at in future planning of the pool.
Previous toilets in Bega Park were removed in 2013 because they were ageing and infrequently used, which council said did not warrant keeping them. However, with the new playground proving more popular than its decrepit predecessor, reinstalling some would appear a welcome move.
Ms Norris said aside from questions and concerns over the lack of toilets, the gathering was a huge success, with a jumping castle and sausage sizzle in addition to the on-site playground – Ms Norris and her partner took along their personal barbecue to cook for the masses.
“It’s something a community preschool to be proud of, to have that many families come along and enjoy themselves. It was a beautiful evening. It’s just a shame those facilities weren’t available that should be.”