Decade-long plea for safer path con­tin­ues

VI­SION-IM­PAIRED HAS BEEN HIT BY CAR TWICE

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Ali­son Bald­ing What im­prove­ments would make the area safer? @the­druitt

A SIM­PLE trip to the shops can be “treach­er­ous” for vi­sion-im­paired res­i­dent Don Scott, who has twice been hit by a car.

De­spite this, a pas­sion­ate decade-long cam­paign from his wife Chris Scott to make his path safe has failed to prompt Black­town Coun­cil to find a so­lu­tion.

How­ever, Af­ter The Stan­dard ques­tioned the coun­cil on be­half of Mrs Scott, Mt Druitt MP and Black­town Ward 4 coun­cil­lor Ed­mond Atalla, along with the coun­cil’s man­ager of civil and parks main­te­nance, met with the Scotts on Fri­day, iden­ti­fy­ing two pos­si­ble so­lu­tions.

While Mr Scott has the help of his guide dog Wat­son, he must nav­i­gate an un­even path in Mt Druitt – which changes con­stantly be­cause of con­struc­tion work in the area – to reach a safe point to cross to the side of Durham St.

Mrs Scott said she was an­gered by the money to be spent on the pro­posed coun­cil name change when it could be bet­ter spent. “They say there is a foot­path on the other side that he should use. The fact that he can’t ac­cess it with­out cross­ing Durham St is ir­rel­e­vant to them (coun­cil staff),” she said.

“You walk ac­cord­ing to what you see. If you see a pot­hole, you pre­pare to step around it. Vis­ually im­paired peo­ple don’t see that kind of thing.”

Mrs Scott said with all the unit de­vel­op­ments in the area, three schools and a large por­tion of the popu- la­tion age­ing, the sec­ond foot­path would ben­e­fit many.

“I told the coun­cil, ‘if you’re go­ing to put that amount of units there, Don’s al­ready been hit (by a car) twice. We need some kind of pro­tec­tion for him’,” she said.

Mr Scott, whose vi­sion be­gan to de­te­ri­o­rate fol­low­ing an op­er­a­tion to re­move a brain tu­mour in 1958, was first hit by a car in 2002 as he tried to cross Durham St, and then again in 2005.

But de­spite pleas to Black­town Coun­cil to in­stall a foot­path on the side of Durham St that he must use to ac­cess the lights, he is forced to nav­i­gate the un­even path.

Fol­low­ing Fri­day’s meet­ing, a coun­cil spokes­woman said staff would ex­plore two pos­si­ble so­lu­tions.

They in­clude in­stal­la­tion of a sec­ond pedes­trian refuge on Durham St or the con­crete path re­quested.

“Fund­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties will be ex­am­ined,” she said.

Pic­ture: MATT SUL­LI­VAN

Don Scott with his traf­fic-trained guide dog Wat­son at Durham St.

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