Accessibility an ongoing issue
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.