Mayoral candidate inspects a problem access area along the Noosa River.
Mayoral candidate inspects a problem access area along the Noosa River.

Mayoral contender takes disability access personally

IMPROVING disability access to Noosa River is not more than a pressing issue for mayoral candidate Clare Stewart, who spent almost a year in a wheelchair as a young adult.

Ms Stewart said the issue was one close to her heart after she was struck by a truck, pinned under it and told she would never walk again.

“I know first-hand the enormous challenges that are presented to people with disabilities. I live and breathe them every day,” Ms Stewart said.

She has pledged to reinstate disabled access at the river after being told calls to council from residents had recently fallen on deaf ears.

Maintenance issues and a lack of disabled access emerged as concerns after touring the riverside area and talking with locals.

were drawn to her attention.

Ms Stewart said one prominent area of the riverbank was highlighted that was “in serious disrepair” with the former access ramp deteriorating to the point a concrete pipe and rotting wood now block any wheelchair access.

Ms Stewart said fixing the problem was as simple as removing the pipe and repairing the timber, but residents had informed her their numerous calls to council in the past six weeks had gone unheard.

“This is Noosa, a prime tourism destination and enviable lifestyle location,” Ms Stewart said.

“We must ensure all our facilities are user friendly for all people especially those with a disability.”

“We must as a community do all we can to ensure our most vulnerable are looked after and accounted for,” she said.

Ms Stewart said Noosa prides itself on being an “accessible, open and an inviting community, but actions speak louder than words”.

“This is a time of year when all locals and visitors are out and enjoying themselves and water activity is very much part of the Christmas break, even more so on our hot summer days,” she said.

“We must ensure our services and facilities cater for all people at all times.”

Ms Stewart vowed that if elected mayor, she would ensure all matters of such importance were brought to her attention.

“I will personally involve myself with all ratepayers and residents. Meeting, listening and responding are part of the person I am,” she said.


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