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Elbow Beach caught short of restrooms

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Utter disgrace: Norman Simons by the chained bathroom facility (Photograph by Sekou Herndrickson)

A lack of public restrooms at a popular South Shore beach has caused problems for tourists, a resident claimed yesterday.

Norman Simons, who lives near the public section of Elbow Beach, said the only toilet had been chained up since the start of the year.

Mr Simons added that the lack of restrooms had annoyed beachgoers “as they’re unable to change out of wet clothes or relieve themselves”, and risked damaging the island’s image among tourists.

He said: “It’s a disgrace — it’s unacceptable, it’s embarrassing and it’s a disgrace to this island. Shame on the Government for allowing this.”

Mr Simons, 73, explained that he had seen a tourist family last week who were unable to get a taxi to their cruise ship because they were still wet from bathing.

He said: “The taxi driver politely explained that he couldn’t drive them under the condition they were in with water dripping off them, but they in turn said, ‘well, we have no facilities here to change’.

“They were right, and the taxi driver was right, but that didn’t solve the problem and the burden fell on the tourists, unfortunately.

“I directed them up to the bus, but one of the tourists had a problem walking and that was a long haul up the hill and in the sun.

“I felt so ashamed and I felt for them, but what could I do?”

Mr Simons added: “How do you think those tourists feel? What impression has Bermuda left on these people?

“We’re competing with so many other countries to get tourists and this is what we have to offer them? It’s nothing.”

He said that Elbow Beach was not the only public beach without bathrooms — but its position as the first beach on the road out of Hamilton made the need for bathrooms even more important.

He explained: “This is the first beach west of Hamilton; a lot of people used to use the hotel beach when it was open to the tourists, but now they still go down to the public beach.”

Mr Simons also said that neglect of the beach could be seen in the poor state of the approach road.

He added that the stretch of road had not been fully paved in 60 years.

Mr Simons said: “It’s a disgrace. I don’t understand. They put so much emphasis on the tourists and spend so much money on the front end of bringing them here and after they arrive, this is what they’re presented with.”

He added that the car park in front of the entrance to the beach would be a good spot to build public bathrooms.

Mr Simons said: “You don’t need that much — from one corner to the other you could fit three toilets and a shower.

“It’s not a major task, it’s just that nobody cares.”

The Ministry of Public Works did not respond to a request for comment.

Rocky road: patchs of filled potholes can be seen along the length of the Elbow Beach driveway (Photograph by Sekou Hendrickson)