Stornoway Trust staff have described damage to a wheelchair-accessible eco-toilet as ‘disappointing’ and ‘disheartening’.

The toilet, which has been available for public use in Lews Castle grounds since August last year, was reportedly damaged between the afternoon of Tuesday (April 23rd) and Wednesday morning. Grounds staff making morning checks discovered that vandals had broken the toilet roll holder and stuffed a whole roll of paper into the pan, making it impossible for the toilet to be used.

The eco-toilet is sited on a high area off the Creed footpath, as it needs exposure to solar and wind power to function. It was installed after long planning and fundraising by the trust. In a statement posted on their website on Wednesday, the trust said: “Many grounds users over the years have asked about the possibility of facilities in the Grounds but the practicalities of getting services to a remote location has always been the challenge. When we read about the environmentally friendly waterless toilets, which work simply using sunlight and wind, we were captivated by its possibilities.

“Keen to secure one of these facilities for the grounds, the trust staff made a number of funding applications over a period of more than six months. In July 2018, we were successful in securing a grant from the Scottish Landfill Community Fund to fund a wheelchair accessible ecotoilet. The grant covered the capital cost of the unit and the trust contributed the transportation and installation costs.

“We had hoped a further funding campaign would secure a second ecotoilet for somewhere else within the grounds, but incidents like these make that an uphill challenge.”

Stornoway Trust factor Iain Maciver told today (Friday April 26th): “We’re now waiting for a report to see whether the toilet can be repaired and we will have to decide how to respond. We cannot leave a public facility locked but we are obviously very disappointed that a facility that was so well-received has been damaged.

“Hopefully this is a one-off and we won’t be talking about it again in the future.”

The trust statement concluded: “We have already got the team working on repairs so that locals and visitors alike are able to continue to use these facilities.”