I am the mother of three children, two of which have mobility issues. They use walkers and wheelchairs to get around.

Here is my accessibility audit of our local area, one picture at a time.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Gordon Post Office

It's raining cats and dogs today. Unfortunately, i had to run a few errants - an Xray, a visit to the supermarket, and the post office.

And there it all fell apart.

You see, the post office is located in the Gordon Village Arcade. And this is what it looks like

There is no street access, neither from the Pacific Highway nor from the Wade Lane entry. There is no ramp. No travellator. There is, of course, a lift. Which is vital.

But today, the lift is out of order. Which means the post office was not accessible to us. As are almost all the other shops in the Village Arcade (level 4 can be accerssed by lift from the Gordon Centre and footbridge over the highway).

For many people, the post office still provides a vital service. Its just not good enough that the only wheelchair access is not independently (electricity independent) accessible :-(

Thursday, April 9, 2015

This whole access thing.

I've been trying to put my finger on why this whole access thing bothers me so much. And last week I posted a picture on our Instagram account and it became clear.

This is the photo I posted.

We got a response quickly.

See, that response is fairly typical. It generally goes along those lines of "of course we wouldn't dream of not serving you/not letting you in. Just contact us and we'll bring it over to you". Or, "just swing by at the back entrance".

I'm sick and tired of that response.

It's simply not good enough.

It's disability discrimination.

There is an old trick to work out if something is discrimination or not. It's called "swap the minority".  If it's still ok it's ok. If it's not, it's not.

Would it be ok if Jewish customers are not able to access the shop via the front door but need to place their order and wait outside till staff bring it out?  Was it ok when black people had to use the back entrance to be served?

Now, I concede that some physical adjustment would have to be made for wheelchair users that other minorities would not need. But when shops and cafes and restaurants spend bucketloads on fitting out their  establishments to reflect their ethos or brand or "vibe", can they really not spend a bit more on constructing a ramp? It's handy for people with wheelchairs. And vision impairments. And mothers with prams. And the delivery guy with his trolley stacked full of boxes.

I understand too that many shops and cafes don't own the building they operate from. But talk to your landlord (and council) about access. If all else fails, build an internal ramp. Just stop discriminating.

Having a disability is one of those things, it does makeslife more complicated. But what really makes it difficult is the built environment that keeps people out, and the prevailing negative attitude towards people with disability. 

A wheelchair is just as much an enabling device as a pair of glasses is. 

And locking people out is with a step is just as discriminatory as hanging a "whites only" sign in your front window.

Enough already!

Accessible fish and chips in St Ives

Good on Olympia - some small renovation and hey presto....

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Woolworths Gordon Center

Clip on wheelchair trolley at Woollies, Gordon Center.

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Also, you can find us on Instagram under InAccessibleKuringgai