Candidates quizzed on disability issues

Voters have asked about provisions for our disabled, mobility challenged and disadvantaged residents.

    1. 25 per cent of the population lives with some form of disability which limits their involvement in our communities.
      Can you tell us if you have had any approaches from organisations raising concerns about these matters while you have been campaigning?
      What is your impression of the provision of services in Waipā for the disabled?
    2. Many in our community in addition have mobility issues which requires them to use a mobility aid e.g. scooter, walker, walking stick etc.
      a. Is enough being done to make Waipā more accessible for them?

How can you, if you are successful in the upcoming election, make a difference in the lives of the disadvantaged in our district?

 

Jim Mylchreest

Jim Mylchreest

1 . It can always be better and council has always been responsive to requests for improvements. A number of requests for improved infrastructure such as footpaths take a little time but are factored in when new contracts are awarded.

2 . It is imperative to provide infrastructure that enables people to maintain their independence for as long as possible particularly as our population ages. A significant amount of funding has been identified for improved shared cycleways/footpaths not only because of disabilities but also to encourage people away from their reliance on private motor vehicles. I think you will see a significant mode shift in transportation options over the next decade or so as we combat the effects of climate change and aging population.

3 . Make sure that council is provided with accurate factual information to support its decision making processes as it will require a collective decision to either re-allocate funding or possibly increase rates. I have not found this a challenge with the past councils as we are all fully aware of the challenges facing our communities.

Susan O’Regan

Susan O’Regan

1 . I understand there is excellent work being done in the disability sector in Waipā by many organisations such as Enrich, Riding for the Disabled, Achievement House, IHC, Idea Services and the Interlock Trust to name a few. It will be interesting to see if the recent establishment of the Disability Ministry will better enable these groups and others to support their community better. In terms of Waipā District Council itself we provide assisted services for those requiring them for such as wheelie bin help and our Public Places Bylaw aims to ensure our public spaces are accessible for everyone no matter their age or ability. More specifically the Cambridge and Te Awamutu Pools both have disability changing rooms and facilities including their much used hydrotherapy pools.

2 . Footpath maintenance and ensuring accessibility for mobility scooters and those with challenged mobility is always some thing we could no doubt do more of. However I believe we replace approximately 3km if footpath annually in a very comprehensive monitor and maintenance programme. As with everything however there are finite budgets to work within and prioritisation has to made which no doubt means there is a perception at times not enough is being done. Most of our council properties are relatively easily accessible I believe with the notable exception being the Cambridge Town Hall – this being one of the things the trust set up to “revision” the building will no doubt address.

3 . Traditionally addressing the challenges around the disadvantaged in our communities is not something that councils have been particularly responsible for as it rests largely with central government. In saying this we have played an increasingly significant part in supporting community organisations who provide assistance to people in need of help. Considerable discretionary funding and grants to community social service organisations are made every year by Waipā District Council and the community boards to assist in the delivery of assistance to those in need. I am eager to review this entire area to create better consistency and predictability. It would also be valuable for us to ensure there is an appropriate balance between the sectors that we support namely the sporting sector, the arts and culture sector and the social services sector. It will also be interesting to see what the Future for Local Government reforms land on in terms of our potential increased responsibility and this area too.

Chris Woodhams

Chris Woodhams

1 . With 1 in 4 New Zealanders limited by a physical, sensory, learning, mental health or other impairment, I doubt there would be many in the Waipā community who do not live or work with, or are friends with or whose life is not touched by a person with a disability in some way.

There is a wide-range of disability issues that we, as a District, must consider as part of our wider District well-being. These include, but are not limited to, accessibility and mobility issues, homelessness, mental health support, and the wider community well-being.

Waipa District Public Places Bylaw 2018 sets out rules for keeping public spaces as accessible as possible to everybody. In general, my impression is that the Waipa District is doing a reasonable job – not a perfect job – and there is a growing need to readdress the accessibility and mobility needs of those with disabilities.

More well-placed pedestrian crossings; easier to access and use footpaths; more disabled parking, better public transport in and around our towns and between our towns; better cycleways through CBDs; shelters for the homeless; well-being spaces for our youth; these are all places I can see an immediate need, but there are other gaps in need and service, and gaps are opening and growing by the day.

It is essential the Council has open communication channels to properly hear and learn about the issues. Ideally Council helps bridge the gaps or helps community-organisations more easily bridge these gaps. I note, some changes can come with significant financial commitment and the council is not always in a position to address large capex without planning.

2. Effort has clearly been made. There are some feedback which I have received such as design of footpath/road ingress/egress. Users of wheelchairs and walkers cannot deal well with sharp curbing, or curbing which angles strongly between the footpath and the road. These are simply evolutions of what we are doing and again, more collaboration between Council staff and the intended users would help a lot.

3. Many people who know my family will know our long association with Waipā disability charities. As a boy, I travelled regularly to Tokanui to visit the residents, to support them and make them feel included in community life.

I have a great deal of compassion for the disabled, I continue to provide support through various charities and more direct engagements. As Mayor I will ensure we continue to push for inclusion and support of all members of the Waipā community. I would champion the notion of Universal Design in all our spaces; Universal Design is ensuring a space is usable by all.

Krystie Brickland

Krystie Brickland

1 . I think there need to be more disabled parks available on the main street, I also believe that we need to ensure that there are local jobs available for people with a disability.

2 . With the addition of the bikeways this is working towards making Waipa more accessible.

3 . Ensure that when we are making decisions on changes we are ensuring that it is suitable for all abilities. And also look to the community to see if there are any job opportunities for those that are less abled.

Marcus Gower

Marcus Gower

1 . Connexu has been in touch with me. When looking at transport options, urban mobility it is important to work with partners like Connexu/Enrich+ to make sure that our direction and strategies are suitable for everyone in our community.

2 . We have gone through a foot path programme to make sure that people with mobility issues can safely cross the road.

3 . In my IT job role, I love working with Connexu and helping their clients to live their best digital life. Everyone should have the right to enjoy our amazing amities and area and I hope to continue to work on that with my council role.

Delwyn Smith

Delwyn Smith

1 . I would be interested to meet with those living with disabilities and hear their suggestions.

2 . I cannot comment if enough is being done to make Waipa more accessible until I have met with affected parties. I do feel that a local bus service that some have discussed would need to accommodate those with mobility issues. Parking space for scooters and the like needs to be considered.

3.  For the disadvantaged in our region I would support those already providing community gardens, food distribution, budgeting advice, counselling services, meals for schools and recycling of sports uniforms. If local streets were planted with fruiting trees, the public could access that. A big part of council responsibility should be keeping rates affordable, so that people are not priced out of this lovely district. If rates and accomodation costs are too high, the low wage workers that we need, cannot afford to live here. Then we all suffer if service workers are not around.

David Slone

David Slone

I haven’t heard anything specific from organisations in the lead up to these elections however I have been very involved with the disability sector for many years and I’m aware that we still have so much to do in this space.

We obviously have many aged care services in town, primarily accommodation. Health services are increasing slowly but we have the same issues here as are seen nationally.

In terms of people with non-aged related disabilities, services are scarce in town and we see many people having to move away from home to ensure they receive a good range of support. This is not a Waipa specific issue, more a reflection of systematic limitations within the sector. Having said that, we do have some fantastic services here – a result of the hard work of truly awesome people.

2. Accessibility is really coming to the fore and it’s great to see. It’s the old story, if we make it easier for those with mobility aids to get around, we make it easier for everyone. If we want people to have meaningful lives and be truly included in their community, accessibility is vital. Of course, we can always do more, and a better transport/roading strategy should be a key part of this.

Accessibility isn’t just around the physical world – as a community, we need to ensure that we welcome everyone and support them to be included their communities. The right attitude is just as important as the right footpath.

3. The Community Board has a responsibility to ensure the voices of all parts of our community are heard. Truly heard. I have worked in the not for profit sector and the disability sector for many years. Having a genuine interest in all people and consistently advocating for all parts of our community is a core value for me.

Philip Coles

Philip Coles

There can always be more done on this subject, we have a good public transport service from our towns to Hamilton however it is my view and is being requested by the community that a town specific bus service is introduced allowing options for all members of the community to access the town centers, along with swimming pools, medical centers and supermarkets, I’m a big supporter of our multi purpose walking and cycling paths but not all members of the community are able to use them for whatever reason so other options like a town specific public service is required providing full urban mobility.

If elected, the question that Ive answered above regarding a town specific public service is what I will continue advocating for over the next term, this is what in particular the senior members of the community are asking for.

Mike Pettit

Mike Pettit

1. The best people to input are those most affected. To this end on the Urban Mobility Reference Group we have a wide range of residents, including those who use a wheelchair and cycle as their predominant mode of transport. More can be done and those most affected are the first we should be listening to.

2. We could be doing more and need a focus in this area as we head into the next Long Term Plan. Demand for better accessibility onto footpaths, further development of our cycleway network which caters for mobility scooters, additional seating and an orbiter bus service are some areas of need that will help connect people; particularly those who cannot drive or choose to use alternate transport.

3. Housing is an area council can play its part, whether it be additional pensioner housing which we are supporting, rates discounts which are available to those who qualify or providing social services and connections through our Community Service workers, who we employed over COVID and have retained, as there is an obvious need.

Ruth Nicholls

1 . I work closely with Achievement House in Cambridge. So I have an awareness of the matters and challenges that disabled people face in our district especially around housing and transport.

There is a significant lack of services in the Waipa area for disabled. And the services that are being offered are consistently challenged.

2. We have numerous cycle paths etc but what has been done for those with mobility scooters?

3. I want to be the voice for the people of our community so that they are heard in council. I will meet with the groups and advocate what they want/need in council to make positive change and hold council accountable.

 

Lou Brown

Lou Brown

I am involved with the RSA and we supply over 12 Mobility Scooters to needy members and support thr health trust van in Te Awamutu through the Te Awamutu RSA.

 

 

Liz Stolwyk

Liz Stolwyk

1 . Provision of services are always improving in Waipa, but we can always do better and do more.

2 . Areas of concern are regularly brought to the attention of staff and elected members and improvements always been made, however I do recognise that we can certainly do more.

3 . Continue to listen to concerns in the community and advocate on their behalf.

James Parlane

James Parlane

1. I have had approaches from several organisatioins asking for questionnaires etc to be completed. Some include the Cancer Society asking about general health and smoking. As I support their work I gave them full answers. Other such as Sport Waikato did not get a detailed response but rather my comments that councils need only administer sport facilities and the rest of people’s sport activities were private ones, particularly costs. As far as I am concerned the Council need not fund private sporting interests and facilities have been over provided and are very lavish. The Velodrome being one example of excessive funding by councils.

2. I am of the view that council should provide the best possible facilities for disabled. The most obvious is that if disabled parking is to be provided then it should be as near to the door of the shop providing it as possible.

3. I have had all sorts of people wanting me to get on their “ bandwagon” about trying to be Santa Claus and give money away. The previous councils have gone on a borrowing and “ party on” free for all and it will take a generation to pay that back.

Norris Hall

Norris Hall

1 . There are strategically placed strips on footpaths at road crossing points to aid the visually impaired.
There is also provision for mobility parks around town, but not enough – we have an aging population and there are those who suffer from mobility issues either from birth or the onset of disabling illness.

2 . The central business districts of each town should be made more user friendly for the benefit of those who use mobility scoters, walkers, wheelchairs, and mothers who who push strollers or prams. That area belongs to them as well. More mobility parking facilities in the cbd is a must.

3 . I will speak out for them as and when necessary.

Alana Mackay

Alana Mackay

1 . I have been speaking to Interlock prior to this in regard to their needs and the space they use to provide their services. From what I understand council’s focus in this area is on supporting a more inclusive community for those living with disabilities through supporting local initiatives/groups and providing educational resources to promote better understanding.

2 . Provision of disability parking spaces, the programme to widen our footpaths, and support of the Total Mobility scheme (discounted taxis) are some of the ways Council is helping to make Waipā more accessible. I would like to see more done around public transport.

3 . Through balancing community wants, needs, and responsible spending to help keep rates at a reasonable level, supporting the wonderful groups that do so much important work with the disadvantaged, and initiatives such as social and pensioner housing.

Don Sanders

Don Sanders

1 . I had thought they were good, however, as I have been delivering flyers over the past few weeks, I have noticed how bad our footpaths are in many parts of our town. This is another example of how we have let our infrastructure fall behind.

2 . Like most infrastructure issues in our town, our council has ignored problems until they get out of hand. We should be maintaining our pathways as problems occur.

3 . I will push for maintenance and improvement of all our infrastructure.

Judy Sherriff

Judy Sherriff

No one has asked about disability issues, however I consider that all councils can always do better to make accessibility easier for all. I certainly would always consider any ideas brought before council to improve accessibility.

 

 

 

Jo Davies-Colley

Jo Davies-Colley

1 . In my previous term, I represented the community board on the Cambridge Social Services committee, which included Aged Concern, Interlock Waipā , Grey Power and Cambridge Community House. Here I heard firsthand of the concerns of both disability and mobility challenges in our community. I advocated for funding for these groups and I was pleased that as a board we were able to give funding to both Interlock Waipā and Achievement House.

2 . As a member of the board, my role would be to listen to the challenges of this sector of the community and actively advocate for them.

3 . I hope to represent the board on the Social Services committee again, as the link between the board and disability/mobility groups. The board’s role is to be an advocate for all members of the community with any issues or concerns.

 

Clyde Graf

Clyde Graf

1 . I see excellent services in some areas, and it’s great to see provisions included in new building projects, but as always, there’s more that can be done.

2 . I have a parent with a disability, so have some understanding of the challenges faced by those living with a disability. I am fully supportive of initiatives that progress services and accessibility for people with disabilities. I would like to add – it’s frustrating to see large amounts of ratepayers’ money being wasted on bureaucratic, pet-projects.
As an example, Waikato Regional Council has just approved over $22 million dollars for the new Operation Reboot IT system, that was initially budgeted at $10 million. That’s $12 million over budget! The money would have been far better spent on improving the lifestyles of community members, than on an IT system that collects data on ratepayers.

3 . If elected, I would be delighted to meet with disability leaders in the community, so I could become better informed on all the important areas that need advocacy and political influence around the decision table. I would then advocate for funding and improvements, where possible.

Jill Taylor

Jill Taylor

1 . I have had approaches from residents who have family members in local rest homes with various concerns – I am still working on this issue.

2 . I believe it’s important for all communities to take all possible steps to ensure the best possible services are provided for members of the community who are disabled. I have also been approached by the people who have mobility aids about the difficulties they experience when using the uneven footpaths – slowly footpaths are being repaired, but it is not happening quickly enough – I would like to join a council staff member on a walk around the footpaths to get a clear understanding of the problems that these people face on a day-to-day basis, and to investigate possible solutions that can be implemented quickly.

3 . I have a keen interest in helping to make our community a better place for everyone to live and work in. If I am unsuccessful in this election, I will still maintain this interest and work with other groups seeking to make our community even better.

Stu Kneebone

Stu Kneebone

1 . My focus and subsequent knowledge has been on areas of regional council responsibility. The Waikato Regional Council operates a scheme known as “Total Mobility”. It runs on a voucher system, enabling people with a disability (who are assessed to meet specific criteria) to access a subsidised taxi service via participating taxi companies. Eligable participants are entitled up to a 50% discount on taxi fares. This scheme operates across Hamilton, Waipa, Tamahere, Newstead, Tauwhare, Matangi and other neighbouring districts. Total Mobility In addition, the council operated buses (including the TeAwamutu-Cambridge-Hamiton regional services) are all equipped with self lowering systems, which enable wheelchairs to board, providing the bus stop area is suitable. The council also operates a small contestable fund that community based organisations are able to apply for financial assistance if they wish to set up a health type shuttle or other similar type service for those who are unable to access other forms of transport to medical care facilities.

2 . My observation would be that the community understand the distinct roles of the regional council versus the district council in this regard. Other than my own experience with aged parents (I have nothing to complain about), I’m not overly familar with the specific serivces provided by Waipa DC, so am unable to provide informed comment. As noted above, I have not received any feedback (positive or negative) from the community.

3 . All disadvantaged members of the community need to be able to access safe and efficient public transport. From an overall perspective, the most important thing for me is to ensure there is a constructive and effective working relationship between the regional and district councils, to ensure that both parts of the pubic transport equation (eg, Waikato Regional Council buses, Total Mobility service and Waipa DC infrastructure such as bus stops and shelters) are working in harmony, and that we are working together to provide good services. I have a very good relationship with my district council counterparts, and intend to continue this. I am very supportive of the proposed improvements to the Cambridge – Hamilton bus services as was reported on by this paper recently. I would note in particular that the proposed improvements to bus stops are an essential part of improving access for disadvantaged residents in Waipa. It’s also obviously important that the disadvantaged have a voice on the Regional Connections committee and the Regional Transport committee.

Barry Quayle

Barry Quayle

1. While biking the streets of Cambridge for my campaign on many days, I have come across a number of persons using mobility scooters. while they haven’t raised any matters with me directly it is clear that they have to choose particular routes to ensure they have the least kerb to road differentials to ensure their scooters do not have too much height drop or increase when trying to crossroads. Generally, the township or where there are groups of shops are very good in this respect.

Around the suburbs could be better served, although the newer suburbs seem well provisioned
2. I will actively support improved access to bus (public transport) connections between Cambridge and Hamilton (and also Te Awamutu and Hamilton) through provisions in the new Regional Transport Plan.

3. It is my view that wellbeing and earning capacity is significantly enhanced as a result of good transport connections. These public transport connections enable youth to access employment and those requiring health support to have affordable access and options. Mental wellbeing is improved through access to family and whanau.

Roger Gordon

Roger Gordon

1 . As a member of Cambridge Grey Power Committee I am very aware of the many challenges faced by disabled and aged. During this last year we (GreyPower) produced a manifesto which we published in our newsletter.
Here are the first three clauses of this manifesto:

Advocacy Manifesto for Cambridge Grey Power
In recognition of its mandate from its members, Cambridge Grey Power will continue to advocate for the following:

1. We support the introduction of a public transport system that enables accessibility within the urban area of Cambridge. Many Grey Power members live outside a comfortable walking distance to town and may also not have an active lifestyle that enables cycling. A local bus service is required that connects those living in the suburbs with the centre town amenities and services such as the library, swimming pool, shops and services, Council Offices, supermarkets, and medical services such as doctors and specialists.
2. We support a local transport network that provides for a safe environment for elderly and less mobile residents. This includes: a. The provision of pedestrian crossings on high traffic use streets (such as Cambridge Road outside Resthaven; Robinson St outside dairy, Albert Street outside Hus Designer Store, Bryce Street around Queen Street intersection). These pedestrian crossings should include a median safety island where possible.
b. The provision of signage to create an awareness of elderly pedestrians on town centre pathways. Remind youth and adult cyclists of the illegality of cycling on footpaths. Remind cyclists to dismount from cycles and walk cycles across the pedestrian crossings.
3. We support a local transport network that provides a town centre network that considers the accessibility needs of mature and aged residents. This includes:
a. the provision of ample parking close to the main shopping areas recognising that many of these residents do not have the ability to walk long distances from their parked vehicles.
b. The provision of adequate curbside road to footpath accessibility areas for wheelchairs, walkers and mobility scooters.
c. The provision of intersections with bubble bumps. A lot of elderly are either visually or mobility impaired. There are still a number of intersections that do not include the pavement approach with bubble bumps.

I have mentioned in my campaign ‘accessibility’ as a concern and that has many dimensions as you can see above. I will continue to mention these as appropriate, I am assuming that many of these issues will come up for discussion in Cambridge Connections the working group charged with considering the Cambridge Transportation network.

2 . I think the disabled and the accessibility compromised are considered in the planning of services and amenities in Waipa. Both of our main towns Cambridge and Te Awamutu are blessed with having nice wide footpaths that accommodate good flow of pedestrians. All of our public buildings provide access and services for people with disability. But our challenge is keeping pace with the incredible growth we are experiencing and meeting the demand for additional features and facilities as our roads are getting busier, and facilities such as suitable parking being always available. It would be really appropriate to have input from the disability sector to the working group Cambridge Connections.

3 . Much of the responsibility for addressing the needs of the disadvantaged lies with central government. Local government is limited in its mandate and resource to make a meaningful contribution. However, within our scope we can help with some issues. We have two community advisors that are working with many community groups that work with some disadvantaged groups. Council has supported groups such as Community House in Cambridge with project funding. There is a rent rebate scheme to help those that are on marginal income. I have supported the increase of our pensioner housing stock. As a member of the Housing Working Group we are trying to find ways to enable more affordable housing options available. One of the main ways in which we as Councillors can contribute is to support and encourage business and economic development in our towns. This helps with the creation of more employment opportunities.

Bernie Fynn

Hi, my attitude is infrastructure first, we have more than enough housing in Waipa, the road congestion,especial;ly in Cambridge attests to this. Due to inward migration caused by the council’s long term obsession with growing the population this way, people now want a bridge. I say NO to this, this has been created by poor planning and foresight and adding to this with a 300ha housing develop[ment on cambridge west, adding to Cambridge North and Leamington west and internal subdivisions. WHO wants this bridge, those who have recently come here and contributed to this mess.
On the Waipa council web page, you can see they have had a housing intensification planned for years and have the gall to say they will protect our laid back life style.
The greenbelt in Cambridge was put in place to prevent expansion,this lot have totally ignored those wishes with the Massive developments they have allowed on the outer side.
This lot are trying to make a transport system with Hamilton and waikato district , cannot see it working, how many want to go from T/A to Cambridge, Ohaupo, Ngahinepouri? Will there be a massive number of vehicles, or will people have to go the whole route to get from T/A to Cambridge. and have fewer buses? I see these three pushing us into another Auckland . This lot are more concerned with wants than needs,they want to grow the population, they want cycle trails, a museum and paying thousands a year in land rent, work on the memorial they are not supposed to do but they want it so will do it, and look at the roads, a good indication of where they satnd on infrastructure, leaking water pipes go unattended and they put us on water meters because these other projects were rated more important. We need a completely new council. The present are to cavalier in their attitude because they keep being re elected due to apathy.
Why are you not concentrating on this sort of thing,these are the questions you should be asking, or are you for all this so called progress,this progress is for it’s own sake, not for the good of the area.
Until I am on council, can I give an indication of this disability, I have arthritis in my hip, I work around it. Youth centres, don’t the youth have the brains to entertain themselves? Skate parks, $800,000 each and the infrastructure in a poor state. The things I saw the candidates consider needing worries me that they will get elected because no one brings up the problems we have and the poor decision making of the present councillors.$5 million on farm land at Karapiro, decision made behind closed doors, just for a cycle trail.

 

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