Building Inclusive Communities?

ISAWhen we see this symbol, it is generally a sign that people with disabilities can access the area or facility. It’s a “People With Disabilities Welcome” symbol.

So when we see this symbol… it’s quite confronting.
disability not welcome symbol

People with disabilities not welcome? It actually means it’s not an accessible area. Which in reality means you’re not welcome. It says, we’re not going to make the effort to make this area accessible for you. No big deal you say? Many areas are not accessible right! Right! This is actually on a foot path. True story.

paisley park close up map

In a little wooded area on a main road in Lawnton is a disability accessible toilet… wait.. is that toilet block even accessible? Anyway, there’s a toilet block and a little park with a creek running through it. As you can see, there’s also a footpath.

paisley path2 20150622_154034

 

This symbol actually exists. When a campaign follower posted it to our Facebook page I had to go see it for myself. Some time ago, my friend Russell told me there was a footpath he couldn’t use but I wasn’t sure what he meant. He had to ask his local councillor to have the footpath on the other side of the road to be fixed to accommodate wheelchair access. So until that was done there was no realistic way for him to safely travel the route on which this path takes.

There’s a very logical reason why this symbol is here. I walked the path. I couldn’t make it back up the steep slope. I had to diagonal walk along the grass to get back to the top. No it is not wheelchair friendly. It’s not even person with mobility impairment friendly. Naturally you can appreciate a warning to tell you not to use the foot path right? Council is just trying to keep us safe. So what do you do from there?

 

 

paisley park distance map

The two red diamond points on the map are where the nearest pedestrian lights crossings are. That’s a bit of a hike back to cross the road.

 

The nearest lights suitable to cross the road are indicated on the map at the end of the red lines. In between is where the footpath warning signs are. There is no other notice or warning that the path ahead is not disability accessible. There is no accessibility map available for Moreton Bay Regional Council let alone this specific area. If you’re off on an adventure in your wheelchair or mobility scooter for the first time here the only way to learn is to find out the hard way. When I went to take these photos it started raining. I imagined myself having to make the trip all the way back in the rain just to cross the road.

This is life with a mobility impairment. No one thinks about the logistics involved for us. Particularly here in my local area. Why? Because they defunded the disability access advisory committee quite some time ago. I’ve even offered to form a voluntary committee that doesn’t require funding. I would volunteer just for the sake of building an inclusive community in my region! So far there’s no sign of my offer being accepted.

#MBRCFail

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