Nobody thought of the elderly in Foxton’s main street upgrade – what’s new?

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Negotiating the road crossing with no curbing leveled to a ramp for the elderly with walkers

Aside from the fact HDC is hocking off the pensioner housing stock, how will the elderly fare with the new Foxton main street upgrade? Having observed the elderly walking along the main street over several days, it seems the clever people who designed the upgrade forgot to factor them in. It’s common knowledge that Foxton has a high ratio of older citizens. And yet, watching them negotiate the main street currently is very interesting. This dear lady in the above image had to lift her walking frame over the curb before she could proceed across the road over the stones. Now if you are in need of a walking frame you are, one could safely conclude, unsteady on your feet. So lifting the frame over a guttering then stepping over it yourself could be quite a risky venture.

So if it’s temporary, what’s the problem? Take a look at that curbing. It has no ‘ramp’ or leveling from the path down onto the road as one would normally find on a foot path, enabling a smooth transition onto and off of the roadway. And they are making the street safer? Really? There’s not a ramp in sight so this appears to be permanent. And worse, where will the mobility scooters negotiate the crossing? At the public presentation by HDC a woman did speak up about this (weeks ago now). She had witnessed near accidents with people and their walkers sliding downwards on the gravel towards the gutter. This really isn’t all rocket science people. Who designed this upgrade & where did they get their credentials? One of those purchase online degrees perhaps?

Another gentleman spoken to on the street recently told us he had had a similar omission of a ramp to enter his drive. The new curb was built right across his drive way and he had to press for them to change it, and they did, but what an unnecessary cost having to re do it? How many other driveways have they ‘plastered’ over like that? 

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No ramps on either side of the street for the elderly to cross with either walking frames or a mobility scooter

Then there is the entrance to the swimming pool. They’ve placed a garden area right at the entrance so if an ambulance needs access, well, they will just have to park up the road a bit and run a bit faster when they hit the pavement.

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The entrance way to the swimming pool is now blocked with a garden making ambulance or other access more difficult … and this upgrade’s about safety

Check out further articles on these issues at our Local Govt Watch pages at the main menu. (You will also find articles under ‘categories’). Because councils are now companies (check Dun & Bradstreet’s website) then their focus, like any company’s, is profits not people. Particularly not elderly people, going by this street fiasco. Their affordable housing is on the way out, what is next? There was a quick consult about the sales also (except Iwi by the looks … the OIA request we got on that had no evidence of it … in spite of their policy on Iwi relationships espoused on their website) … and people I know who attended said their anti sale views were quickly squashed. They were also given a very nice dinner I’m told.

The current contracts will apparently remain the same, but remember they’re still selling off the family jewels and the next set of tenants will of course have raised rents. Companies aren’t in business for love … the current council already raised the rents considerably since becoming a company. That’s all in the nature of neo-liberal economics … sell off the stock these old people helped build and if we go the way of America, offer them end of life counseling.  What these people need to remember is they too will grow old and their fortunes are not foolproof.

I did omit to mention, the new Mayor who actually cares about old people, and who is and always has been against the sale of these flats, has been removed from the committee that is discussing the sales (see Horowhenua Chronicle 1/3/17) … because he has a conflict of interest, that is, he doesn’t agree with selling them. That gets rid of any pesky bias towards keeping them and presumably it’s going to help pay down the $70 odd million debt (the official figure, it’s said to be much higher) the same establishment accrued in recent years.

EnvirowatchHorowhenua

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