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Councillor encourages better access to city shops

Headshot of Michael Philipps
Michael PhilippsSouth Western Times
Victoria Street, Bunbury
Camera IconVictoria Street, Bunbury Credit: Supplied

Bunbury city councillor and Bunbury Community Access Committee chairman Brendan Kelly is urging the city’s businesses to become more accessible for people with a disability.

Cr Kelly’s comments come after ECU PhD student Adam Johnson, who has been conducting research for the City’s Most Accessible Regional City in Australia project, revealed that 27 per cent of businesses in the main street could be accessed in a dignified manner by a person with a disability.

Cr Kelly said the lack of access ramps was due to the age of the city’s buildings.

“One of the issues we have in Bunbury is that we are retro fitting an old city,” he said.

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“In the old days, and I am going back to 1841 when Bunbury was first laid out, nobody thought about this issue.

“So as a result a lot of the buildings that we have on the main street have step ups.”

Cr Kelly said it was the responsibility of landowners to make their properties accessible.

“We encourage landowners to do their best to make them accessible,” he said.

“The city can’t come in and wave a big stick to encourage people to make the changes. But what we can do is remind people of the financial angle of having more people able to access their business.”

Business South West marketing and projects officer Shannon Gale said the company had changed the name of its Disability Employer of the Year award to raise awareness of the issue.

“The new name is the Accessible and Inclusive Business award,” she said.

“It has been sponsored by Forrest Personnel and this award is a fantastic opportunity to spread awareness in our local community.”

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