Wheelchair access throughout Dunedin has come a long
way but is still inadequate in many areas, those involved in
a disability awareness initiative learnt yesterday.
About 20 workers from the Dunedin City Council (DCC), Opus,
Fulton Hogan and the Wall Street Mall were confined to
wheelchairs while undertaking four team challenges designed
to highlight the everyday difficulties faced by those with
Participating in a disability trial around central Dunedin
yesterday are (from left) Sam Riddell, of Opus, leading his
team around a truck parked over the footpath. Photo by Jane
They navigated crowded shopping areas, used lifts, dodged
traffic while crossing the road and grappled with unforgiving
Accessing the Dunedin Community Law Centre, buying a drink at
Burger King in the Meridian Mall and using the National Bank
on George St all presented issues, particularly during the
central Dunedin lunch-hour rush.
Dubbed the Amazing Race, the event was organised by CCS
Disability Action, the Disability Information Service (DIS)
and the Idea (Intellectual Disability Empowerment
DIS information consultant John Marrable said the city
council and other organisations had helped to improve
wheelchair access within the community, but there were still
many routine tasks which proved difficult for people with
''Amazing Race is a play on words because people with
impairments are amazing people, because they live their lives
and their own race with challenges every day,'' he said.
Dunedin residents permanently confined to wheelchairs were
appointed team leaders and guided those less experienced
during the event.
CCS worker Marty Rowlands had been in a wheelchair for more
than two decades, following a truck accident, and said access
throughout Dunedin had ''improved heaps'' in that time.
Those taking part yesterday provided feedback to organisers
about what they were unable to do and why, for consideration
of future improvements.