Cap­i­tal could lift ac­ces­si­bil­ity game

Kapi-Mana News - - WHAT’S ON - LAURA DOONEY

A man who sang the praises of a South Is­land town for be­ing com­pletely ac­ces­si­ble to those with dis­abil­i­ties, can’t say the same about Welling­ton.

This is de­spite a Bri­tish travel blog­ger re­cently say­ing the cap­i­tal was the most wheelchair­friendly city he had vis­ited.

But for quadriplegic Paul McKenzie, Welling­ton was not quite up to the stan­dard of Blen­heim - the town the Aus­tralian be­lieves is the most ac­ces­si­ble he’s ever been too.

The dis­abil­ity ad­vo­cate said he and his Kiwi wife Jess, trav­el­ling with their baby Eleven, found it much harder to find parks, get into shops, and even cross the road in the cap­i­tal.

‘‘I’m not hav­ing a go ... Welling­ton is good, it’s just not ex­cel­lent.

‘‘They have done what they had to do, they haven’t gone bet­ter and be­yond. They haven’t made a huge ef­fort like they have in Blen­heim.’’

Ear­lier this year travel blog­ger An­thony Wil­liam com­mented in The In­de­pen­dent that Welling­ton was one of the eas­i­est places to travel for some­one in a wheel­chair.

McKenzie said ac­ces­si­bil­ity needed to be ex­tended to all. For ex­am­ple dis­abled parks needed to cater for dis­abled ve­hi­cles where a per­son might be get­ting out from either side, or the back.

Welling­ton City Coun­cil spokes­woman Vic­to­ria Bar­tonChap­ple said the coun­cil was proud of the city’s gen­er­ally pos­i­tive ac­ces­si­ble rep­u­ta­tion, both here and over­seas, but was aware it could al­ways do bet­ter.

It worked closely with its Ac­ces­si­bil­ity Ad­vi­sory Group which gave feed­back and ad­vice on ac­ces­si­bil­ity is­sues.

It was work­ing on a num­ber of ini­tia­tives to im­prove ac­cess in the city, in­clud­ing a re­view of the dis­tri­bu­tion of mo­bil­ity parks in the sub­urbs, and en­gag­ing with ex­perts while plan­ning ma­jor pro­jects.

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