Civic Square's new public toilet block to be added to Macquarie House development

Macquarie House
Macquarie House

After months of debate and community consultation, the City of Launceston council has decided to merge a proposed public toilet block at Civic Square into the planned $3 million redevelopment of Macquarie House.

In December last year the council approved a proposal to build a new amenities block on the Charles Street side of Macquarie House, after several other locations around the historic building were rejected.

But at Monday’s council meeting, the aldermen were presented with an alternative proposal that, council officers said, would provide better value for money by incorporating the new toilet block within the mutli-million dollar redevelopment.

The need for more accessible, all-hours public toilets was identified after the original Macquarie House plans were approved.

The new plan would also save a mature plane tree behind Macquarie House from being cut down while it still has about 20 years of life remaining.

An arborist’s report for the council showed the plane tree had a greater lifespan than originally understood.

Alderman Robin McKendrick asked if submitting a development application for the toilets would delay the $3 million Macquarie House redevelopment.

Council general manager Michael Stretton said the council still had a month to get a development application through the approval process without impacting the Macquarie House timeline.

“We won’t be able to start any work on the toilet until we’re able to have a planning approval for it,” he said.

“It will be interwoven into the Macquarie House development and completed as part of that project.”

The existing toilets under the House will be closed during the development, and council would bring in portable toilets for any events in Civic Square.

A federally-funded initiative, the Macquarie House development will see the historic building transformed into an innovation hub housing Enterprize Tasmania’s Launceston office.