Westport Town Council should be leading the way in the area of Disability Access
With respect to disability access in Westport there is no more qualified to advise us on the issue that the disabled of this town.
There is no point to unilateral action being taken on the matter. We need to consult and work with the disabled and their representatives and organizations in the town if we are to make any progress on this issue.
7% of our population has a disability of one form of another and as the population ages this number will increase.
Westport’s progress in this matter has stalled. We set up a Disability committee in July 2005 and that committee has never met. I have no interest on serving on a committee that never meets. Worse again those disabled people and their representatives grow increasing frustrated with our lack of progress and near complete lack of communication. Meeting after meeting has been postponed.
Now no doubt the Town Clerk or Town Manager can reel off a number of initiatives with regard to increasing access in the town that we have undertaken since July 2005 but they are meaningless if they are done without consultation with those affected most by them. And I can assure this council that no matter how long the list of achievements is it is dwarfed by the list of things that need to be done.
I am aware that the Family Resource centre are facilitating a Disability Access Committee and this is now setting about contacting and working with businesses in the town towards increasing access. It is a shame that one of the organizations which is slowest to come on board is Westport Town Council which signed up to the Barcelona Declaration in 2003 yet has not meet with this committee.
Westport Town Council should be leading the way in the area of Disability Access yet it seems we have to be dragged. If there is no action by our May meeting then I will be quitting our Barcelona Committee.