'It's not safe': Business owner calls for disability access
KINGAROY St and Haly St both have no labelled disability parking and business owners in the area are not impressed.
Sherie Poole has owned Missulli Boutique on Kingaroy St for four years and said the lack of accessible parking had affected her business.
"It's not safe or accessible,” Ms Poole said.
"Honestly how did this ever get approved? It's not rocket science, it's just common sense. One of my best customers, who is a good friend of mine, is in a wheelchair and they can't get anywhere. It's really difficult for them.
"They pay their taxes, they work, they are people too. Why aren't they as important as everyone else?”
This issue also affects those with prams, she said.
"We've got a lot of customers with prams, scooters, and wheelchairs. Especially a lot with prams. They have such a difficult time accessing our store without any disability parking or safe ways to get to us,” Ms Poole said.
Ms Poole looks forward to the day when Kingaroy caters for everyone.
"Not including them is not okay,” Ms Poole said.
"To me it makes sense to treat them like people. Because they are people. I thought it was a rule. I thought everywhere had to be accessible for everyone.
"It's like saying you don't count as a person. How dehumanising. It's almost like a form of bullying or discrimination.”
Keeley Walker has worked at the Kingaroy Newsagency on Haly St for more than three years.
She cannot believe nothing has been done to address the lack of accessible parking.
"There isn't any clearly labelled disability parking on Haly St or in the parking lot behind our store. It's unbelievable,” Ms Walker said.
"It is not possible for someone with a disability to even access our store. The gutter outside our shop is a high step up. We have younger people trip on it, and we have older people trip on it. We've had so many cases of elderly customers falling just this past month. They end up with all kinds of bruises and scrapes.”
Ms Walker is concerned for how it affects business, as well as those living with a disability in the South Burnett.
"It really does affect our business too. That's a whole lot of people who we are unable to cater for. People with any trouble walking, with a wheelchair, with a walker, with a walking stick,” Ms Walker said.
"Council needs to step up and do something. The gutter drop needs to be fixed. We need clearly labelled disability parking; in Haly street and Kingaroy street. Also in the parking lot behind our store. Something needs to be done about that crossing too.”
Ms Walker said it was backwards to not cater for the entire community.
"These people are a part of our community too. And there's a lot of them,” Ms Walker said.
Mayor Keith Campbell said accessible parking would be part of the proposed Kingaroy CBD upgrade.
"Yes. Absolutely,” Mr Campbell said.
"Any new work like that needs to represent and be all-inclusive for the various abilities of people.”
South Burnett Regional Council CEO Mark Pitt agreed with him.
"Those accessibility issues will be addressed,” Mr Pitt said.