Media Release - Is Whangarei Open to all? - 17th August 2013

Whangarei City a No-Go Zone

The elderly and disabled people are finding it hard to get around in Whangarei’s CBD, and it’s not the lack of disabled parking that is causing the most concern, according to Mayoral candidate Vince Cocurullo.

“Being the Chair of NorthAble gives me a great insight to the challenges faced by those in Whangarei with disabilities,” says Vince. “For a large number of our residents, the number of barriers and hazards they face on a simple shopping trip or visit to a place of business in the CBD means they often won’t come in.”

Slippery pavers, crossings that are badly laid out, tricky curbing and steep cambers all present danger for people with a range of disabilities. A common sight on Bank Street is seeing someone in a wheelchair struggling to get up and over the steep camber in the CBD. They need to take a long run-up and hope they don’t crash into another pedestrian, or rely on someone else to push them.

Obstacles that block the footpath are another serious issue. Over the years telephone or power poles have been positioned in the middle of footpaths, like on Maunu Road where there is not enough room between the pole and the grass verge for a wheelchair. If people have to steer onto rough or soft ground with wheelchairs or even pushchairs, there is the risk of wheels getting stuck or the chair tipping. It’s even worse where there are buildings where people are forced to veer out onto the road or find another route past.

“Our business and shopping precincts should be places whereall Whangarei residents are provided for. A more accessible Whangarei means more people coming together in their daily lives instead of living in isolation,” says Vince.

“As your Mayor I want to lead our council in building a stronger, more cohesive community, and this can only happen if we all put Whangarei First!”

Vince Cocurullo

Whangarei Mayoral Candidate 2013

Phone: 09 4388834  or  021438952