Dis­abled park­ing con­cern

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - By DANIEL WHIT­FIELD

Ly­dia Jack­son is keep­ing her fin­gers crossed that prob­lems with dis­abil­ity park­ing in Porirua will be fixed af­ter the city coun­cil an­nounced a plan to re­de­velop park­ing in Cob­ham Court.

Un­der the new plan, 29 reg­u­lar car parks will be re­moved from Cob­ham Court and four dis­abled car parks will be al­lot­ted on the eastern side.

There are at present eight dis­abled car parks un­der the coun­cil’s au­thor­ity in cen­tral Porirua and that num­ber will rise to 10 with the re­de­vel­op­ment plan.

But, Jack­son is un­cer­tain about whether that will solve the prob­lem with dis­abil­ity park­ing.

She be­lieves many of the car parks in the CBD that are des­ig­nated for dis­abled users are not prac­ti­cal or sized cor­rectly.

‘‘Most of the su­per­mar­kets are OK, but as a whole Porirua is way un­der- re­sourced for dis­abil­ity park­ing, con­sid­er­ing it has an over rep­re­sen­ta­tion of dis­abled peo­ple in its pop­u­la­tion,’’ Jack­son said.

The Ranui res­i­dent and mother of a 5- year- old with global de­vel­op­men­tal de­lay said dis­abled park­ing seemed to be a wide­spread prob­lem and that it would be great if the re­de­vel­op­ment fixed the is­sue.

‘‘If the new car parks are the cor­rect size and more ac­ces­si­ble, it will be great.’’

Her son is un­able to walk in­de­pen­dently and re­quires the use of a dis­abled car park.

She said a lot of dis­abled car parks hadn’t been prop­erly as­sessed.

‘‘It’s not all about con­ve­nience; it’s about ac­cess. Some parks are ter­ri­ble, like the one out­side the coun­cil build­ing.

‘‘There are sev­eral in the shop­ping cen­tre that are next to poles and are just im­prac­ti­cal.’’

Jack­son said the ex­tra car parks for dis­abled peo­ple would help, but wanted at­ten­tion turned to oth­ers in the area.

The coun­cil’s dis­abled park­ing is op­er­ated by CCS Dis­abil­ity Ac­tion through a scheme called Op­er­a­tion Mo­bil­ity.

Coun­cil of­fi­cer Peter Bai­ley, who over­sees the scheme, said that the coun­cil was open to dis­cussing car park­ing and that there had been no pre­vi­ous prob­lems.

‘‘We’ve talked to users of car parks and they’ve said they work. But if there aren’t enough [park­ing spa­ces] or peo­ple are un­happy, then they need to ask for more,’’ Bai­ley said.

North City Shop­ping Cen­tre, the Me­ga­Cen­tre, New World, Count­down and Pak’nSave su­per­mar­kets pro­vide park­ing for dis­abled cus­tomers.

Cen­tre man­ager Holly Lynn said there were 16 dis­abled spa­ces in the cen­tre car park.

‘‘We con­sider these parks, and all our car parks, an es­sen­tial com­po­nent of North City and con­tin­u­ously strive to en­sure we are pro­vid­ing the best ex­pe­ri­ence for our cus­tomers,’’ Lynn said. Kapi-Mana News read­ers seem to think there is a prob­lem with dis­abil­ity park­ing in Porirua.

Am­ber-Pixie Rose said in re­sponse to our Face­book query that there were not enough of them.

‘‘It costs the in­di­vid­ual who uses those mo­bil­ity parks so by right they should have more ac­ces­si­ble ones to park and move around safely,’’ she said.

‘‘I also see far too many peo­ple use those parks when they clearly shouldn’t be park­ing there in the first place.’’

Karewa Arthur said the dis­abled needed more car parks through­out the city cen­tre and in the sub­urbs.

Lysha Solomon said Porirua did not cater for the needs of the dis­abled.

‘‘There aren’t enough car parks for them, es­pe­cially when able­bod­ied peo­ple are us­ing their parks,’’ Solomon said.

Photo: DANIEL WHIT­FIELD

Ly­dia Jack­son ques­tions the park­ing in Porirua for dis­abled peo­ple.

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