Accessibility to disabled toilets is a big picture issue

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I respond to, Brett Bevan, CEO Charmhaven Tennis Club (Wyong Chronicle, August 22) “Council must reassess locking disabled toilets”.
I find it ironic that the telephone conversation organised by Clr Doug Vincent, between Brett Bevan and myself, some weeks ago, has gone so wrong.
He indicated at the time that the Charmhaven Tennis Club was about to carry out major refurbishments in the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars and yet it can’t purchase a MLAK key.
I also find it amazing that an establishment catering for the community, does not already have facilities for the disabled or elderly, and needs to use adjoining Council toilets.
The Construction codes for any major development would require the Tennis Centre to have at least one accessible toilet, plus other infrastructure like ramps, railings and parking.
Yet, there does seem to be conflicting information that indicated some political nuisance on his behalf and certainly to the benefit of the club.
Speaking directly with him only weeks ago, he seemed convinced that the locking of public disability toilets was a good idea.
Now he seems to be playing this game, even though he indicated to me that we would talk again on his return from an overseas trip.
Yet I have not heard from him.
Safety and cleanliness is upmost when catering for the disabled and elderly, yet because he believes he cannot obtain a MLAK key, he has the right to condemn the program that needs to expand, not disappear.
I personally offered to supply free keys or give a supporting letter to allow the purchase of the key, which costs $15-$30.
I raised the issue of the condition of the disabled toilets at the skate park at Bateau Bay when they first opened, and the reply was that they had now been totally marked with graffiti.
We can’t have it both ways, on one hand looking after the safety and condition of our Council facilities, and having the toilets used by tennis centre patrons being left open for the centre’s convenience.
I personally have been attempting to have Central Coast Council understand the needs of those with disabilities or aging issues to have appropriate facilities, including toilets and parks, available, through my sitting on Council’s Disability Inclusion Reference Group.
Through my advocacy over 32 years as National President of the Disabled Surfers Association of Australia Inc., and now President of the Northern Lakes Disability Tourism Precinct Committee Inc., we were starting to make headway.
Yes, Council has many faults and lack of knowledge on Accessibility and Inclusion, as conceded by heads of departments within Council.
Yet in this case, Mr Bevan is totally wrong, this is not about the club, it’s about the bigger picture.

Letter, Aug 28
Gary Blaschke, Lake Munmorah

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