Wheelchair and Scooter access all around Tea Gardens / hawks Nest

Opinion

 

Dear News Of The Area,

ACCORDING to the National Census reports Tea Gardens / Hawks Nest has the oldest mean age for residents in Australian communities.

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No doubt this has been helped by the two retirement villages in Tea Gardens.

I find it quite strange that there is a lack of wheelchair support in our community.

I have been living at Palm Lake Resort for the past twelve months.

I use wheelchairs and mobility scooters as I am unable to walk.

Unfortunately the Palm Lake Resort bus has no wheelchair facilities.

Surprisingly this is also the case for all means of transport in this region.

There are no wheelchair equipped taxis and the local bus service has no wheelchair facility. Nor, surprisingly does the local community bus service which provides transport for people to attend medical appointments in Newcastle and Raymond Terrace.

I have been eligible to use subsidized Taxi vouchers but they are useless as there are no taxis.

I called BusWays Administration last year and was told that “their contract did not require them to provide buses with wheelchair facilities”.

I found this quite disturbing and contacted the NSW Department of Transport.

I was assured that all bus companies must provide wheelchair support but there had been a delay with the procurement of suitably equipped buses and a delivery timetable was uncertain.

Wheelchairs and mobility scooters are difficult to maneuver along footpaths that disappear or are non-existent in many streets.

The bridge linking Tea Gardens to Hawks Nest has a narrow footpath that is dangerous for pedestrians and doubly so for wheelchair and mobility scooter users.

As more and more local residents will require the use of wheelchairs and mobility scooters into the future, I’m sure this unacceptable situation will improve.

I just hope it will be sooner rather than later.

Greg Kentish
Resident, Palm Lake Resort Tea Gardens

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