Left out in the cold

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Town Talk - By KATE LEAVER

MORE THAN 100 Wem­b­ley Downs res­i­dents say they have been left out in the cold by the City of Stir­ling and the Pub­lic Trans­port Author­ity (PTA) af­ter their lo­cal bus shel­ter was re­moved.

The Em­pire Av­enue shel­ter was re­moved by the City in Au­gust for the PTA’s dis­abil­ity ac­cess up­grade but was never re­placed be­cause of the Bus Shel­ter Sub­sidy Scheme, a fund­ing agree­ment be­tween the WA Lo­cal Government As­so­ci­a­tion (WALGA) and the PTA .

The bus stop that used to be a shel­ter and bench is now a “no man’s land” on an is­land in the mid­dle of two roads, ac­cord­ing to res­i­dent David Von Stieglitz.

“Re­moval of the shel­ter and seat leaves bus pa­trons with nowhere to take shel­ter on hot or rainy days, and nowhere for frail or el­derly peo­ple to sit while they wait for the next bus,” Mr Von Stieglitz said.

“For western sub­urbs res­i­dents, the bus is the only pub­lic trans­port op­tion, as there is no train ser­vice.”

“It’s ab­surd that they should do this up­grade of a bus stop and take a per­fectly good amenity away and not re­place it.”

Mr Von Stieglitz, who or­gan­ised a 107-sig­na­ture pe­ti­tion, said he used the stop ev­ery day for the past eight years to get to work in the CBD.

Stir­ling en­gi­neer­ing de­sign man­ager Paul Gi­amov said be­cause only eight peo­ple per day used the stop, a new shel­ter would not be a pos­si­bil­ity.

“Be­cause the pa­tron­age was be­low their (the PTA’s) min­i­mum thresh­old of 15 board­ings per av­er­age week­day it would not be el­i­gi­ble for a 50 per cent con­tri­bu­tion un­der their Bus Shel­ter Sub­sidy Scheme,” he said.

“To re­place that shel­ter would re­quire the City to fund dou­ble the nor­mal cost of a shel­ter.”

Mr Von Stieglitz said the daily pa­tron cri­te­ria should be re­duced for the shel­ter be­cause the area was bor­dered by a re­serve and a golf course.

“To put us against an area that is higher den­sity is un­fair,” he said.

Mr Von Stieglitz said the com­mu­nity felt “aban­doned” by the move.

“It’s not right that we should be left with­out a shel­ter here; not even a bench,” he said.

Mr Gi­amov said the City was con­cerned about the re­moval of the shel­ter but pro­vid­ing shel­ters for high-pa­tron­age stops was the pri­or­ity.

“As this bus stop would not qual­ify for PTA co-fund­ing, the City con­sid­ers that it would not be a pru­dent al­lo­ca­tion of re­sources to pro­vide shel­ter for eight peo­ple at the ex­pense of two shel­ters cater­ing for more than 100 peo­ple,” he said.

El­derly res­i­dent San­dra Fin­cham said she had used the shel­ter for 30 years to get to ap­point­ments in the city.

“If it’s go­ing to be 40 de­grees or pour­ing with rain, this does dis­cour­age me from us­ing pub­lic trans­port, but I have to catch the bus so I’ll have to turn up at the surgery soak­ing wet,” she said.

“When my hus­band was in hos­pi­tal I was us­ing the bus ev­ery day for about eight months to get there.”

Pic­ture: Kate Leaver

David Von Stieglitz and San­dra Fin­cham.

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