Call for better disabled access

  • October 22, 2009
  • Bruce Bromley

LAN Dufty wants better footpath access for disabled people in the Whitsundays.

The Proserpine resident says that he has been campaigning for more than 30 years to get better access from disabled parking spots onto the footpath.

Mr Dufty, who is himself in a wheelchair, raised his concerns at last week’s Whitsunday Regional Council meeting in Airlie Beach.

“On the Esplanade you have to go back into traffic to get to the footpath,” Mr Dufty told the councillors during question time.

“At the doctors the disabled parking is on a 45 degree angle, if you get out then you can end up in the lagoon.

“To get to the IGA in Proserpine you have to go 50 metres one way or go around to the main street.

“It is a basic human right that people with a disability can go to the post office to get their mail or go to the local supermarket.”

Mr Dufty said that he had been campaigning for 33 years and nothing had changed.

However Whitsunday Mayor Mike Brunker refuted Mr Dufty’s claim that nothing had been done.

“I disagree that things haven’t changed in the last 30 years,” he said.

Mr Brunker said that upgrades to the main street in Proserpine would help improve disability access in the town.

“At the end of the day, that is one of the main reasons why we are doing the new street, to improve disability access.

“A major part of discussions we had about the main street was about improving disability access.”

Meanwhile Mr Dufty has decorated his wheelchair with wheel covers that say ‘serial pest’ which he plans to wear to the next council meeting.

“I go along to council meetings and ask questions,” he said.

“If asking questions in the public interest is being a serial pest then I’m happy with the title.”