By Jackson Russell
Residents are growing concerned with the lack of access for the disabled and elderly around Kilmore, especially through the town’s main street.
People using wheelchairs or walking frames are frequently struggling to negotiate their way from the street to vital services including the bank and post office due to the state of parking and paths.
One shopping precinct is causing particular concern, with reports of people falling into gutters and on the driveway.
Willowmavin resident Philip Kenyon said his wheelchair-bound friend often had trouble getting to the shops.
“The only place he can park with his vehicle on the level is on the gravel next to Ferguson Plarre and if you look at the surface, it’s beyond wheelchair access,” he said.
“If you have a look at the disabled parking at the shops, it’s all on a slope and there’s a six-inch high curb so you can’t get up there.
“The poor chap who parked in the disabled parking in front of the Red Lion Hotel got out of his car and came across the bluestones the other day, fell into the gutter and had to be helped back into his chair.”
The access from the footpath to the elevated shops is also an issue, with residents either having to traverse a potholed gravel car park or get themselves up a ramp that’s steeper than the standard of one to 14 for ramps longer than 1900mm, according to the Standards Australia.
The Elms resident Glenis Ranger said she couldn’t get herself from The Elms to the shops on her mobility scooter because of a lack of footpaths along her route.
“You can’t negotiate the town. You’ve got to have somebody with you all the time,” she said.
“There are some places that you just can’t get to them. The only place I go is Coles. It’s a major outing to come here to post a letter, absolutely major.”
Mitchell Shire Mayor Bill Chisholm said council was working to improve accessibility for residents and visitors through its capital works program which included the disabled parking space on Sydney Street.
“Council has allocated $50,000 for Sydney Street, Kilmore, and $40,000 for Seymour under the Accessible Parking Upgrade Program in 2019-2020,” he said.
“Council has been in discussion with adjacent landowners in Kilmore to explore opportunities to improve the number of accessible parking spaces in the area.
“Council’s preference is to identify off-street accessible parking spots. This may involve working with private landholders and utilising existing car parks.”