Disability trust grills candidates

Western Bay of PLenty Disability Support Trust chair Wendy Neilson is says the forum is crucial to giving the disabled community a voice.

A local trust is calling on the disabled community in Tauranga to make their voices heard at an upcoming mayoral candidate forum.

Western Bay of Plenty Disability Support Trust is hosting the forum on Wednesday, September 18.

WBoP Disability Support Trust chair Wendy Neilson says this event will provide people with the opportunity to address their accessibility needs and pose questions to potential candidates.

“Often we are not encouraged to be vocal and many members of the community find it hard to get to public meetings. This event gives us a collective voice when we invite potential mayoral candidates.”

Gill Garden WBoP Disability Support Trust coordinator agrees, saying this event ensures the sector is heard.

“People with disabilities must be taken into account, and we want to know whichever mayor is selected – what are they going to do for the disability sector.”

Candidates will be asked about what they will do to value and enhance the lives of people with a disability in the Tauranga area.  Attendees will then be able to ask questions of their own.

Wendy says this event will challenge candidates to not only think about the disabled community but more importantly help make the necessary change.

“The council are doing a good job in Tauranga at the moment, but there could be new leadership and we need to ensure we get a commitment from them.”

She would like to see a commitment to universal design across public spaces, but particularly in council-owned housing.

Universal design considers various life scenarios such as disability, old age, childhood, injury and pregnancy in all design.

“Council-owned homes should be fully compliant. There are homes owned by TCC where people only have towel rails to pull on to get up from the toilet.

“It’s about making sure their own housing stock is fully accessible. We need easier access in all spaces so we don’t have to feel special, but instead, we are just part of the community.”

The event is running from 10.30am to 12.30pm at the Tauranga Citizens Club on Thirteenth Ave.

For more information about the event or to reserve your place contact Gill Gardner on: 021333900 or email: coordinator.wbop.dst@gmail.com