Ac­ces­si­bil­ity an on­go­ing is­sue

Cambridge Edition - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - EMMA JAMES

At­ti­tudes are chang­ing but there are still is­sues with dis­abled ac­cess in Cam­bridge.

Wheel­chair user Aaron - who only wants to be known by a first name - said since an ar­ti­cle on dis­abil­ity ac­cess was pub­lished in the Edi­tion on March 15, peo­ple were be­com­ing more aware of peo­ple with phys­i­cal im­pair­ments.

The feed­back has prompted him to start a char­ity or­gan­i­sa­tion to fundraise for dis­abled peo­ple in Cam­bridge. He said some peo­ple re­ceive grants, es­pe­cially if they are in­volved in sport, but most phys­i­cally im­paired peo­ple strug­gle to move around their own home, as they can­not af­ford the nec­es­sary equip­ment.

‘‘Some of them need spe­cial equip­ment to help them func­tion prop­erly such as bath lifts, power as­sists on their wheel­chairs, ramps, and even ap­pli­ances that are suited to their dis­abil­ity.

‘‘How can we ex­pect dis­abled peo­ple to come out and be in­cluded in the com­mu­nity if they can’t even get around their own homes prop­erly?’’

Foot­paths, car parks and pub­lic toi­lets still need to be al­tered to the cor­rect stan­dards.

Waipa District Coun­cil was work­ing with CCS Dis­abil­ity to au­dit the Waipa district. Meet­ings have been held in Piron­gia, Ki­hik­ihi and Ohaupo, and fur­ther meet­ings would be held in Cam­bridge and Te Awa­mutu in July.

The au­dit would look at how foot­paths, road cross­ings, in­ter­sec­tions, pedes­trian cross­ings and mo­bil­ity park­ing spa­ces, as well as ac­cess points into some re­serves and com­mu­nity fa­cil­i­ties, could be made more ac­ces­si­ble. The dis­abled toi­let in the Cam­bridge coun­cil build­ing would be re­viewed for changes, as a bulky bin is in the way of wheel­chair users back­ing up against the wall in or­der to trans­fer them­selves to the toi­let.

Road main­te­nance team leader Cedric Crow said feed­back meant real users were be­ing heard.

‘‘There’s def­i­nitely im­prove­ments that can be made so it’s a case of pri­ori­tis­ing the $300,000 we have avail­able specif­i­cally for this area.’’

But af­ter the au­dit and feed­back, if more money is needed, coun­cil would have to weigh up and con­sider when set­ting its bud­gets. A com­mu­nity meet­ing will be held in Cam­bridge at coun­cil of­fices on July 4 and an­other at the Te Awa­mutu Li­brary on July 5, from 10am - 12pm.

The bins on the wall stop wheel­chair users from trans­fer­ing them­selves to the toi­let.

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