Resident wins path fight

Resident wins path fight

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Byford resident John Kirkpatrick said there absence of a footpath is a problem for those with disability and an accident waiting to happen. Photograph Kelly Pilgrim-Byrne.

The Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale said it would construct a new section of footpath to link the Coles development with the existing shire footpath network to assist the elderly, disabled and parents with prams.

Although Coles has not fully committed to the project, the shire said it received a verbal offer of assistance on Tuesday.

The announcement came after a number of requests to council members from Byford resident John Kirkpatrick to contact the Coles Centre in Byford.

Mr Kirkpatrick said he was prompted to speak at the council meeting on December 19 after he saw a woman from the Graceford aged persons facility in an electric wheelchair get stuck where the footpath was supposed to be outside the 7-11 service station, just before entering the Coles centre.

“It took a number of customers from the service station and passing motorists that stopped to help free her wheelchair and get her back onto a suitable surface,” he said.

“On talking to her she stated that she had problems getting across Abernethy Road and is unable to mount the kerb on the northern side of the road and has to use the road across the rail crossing to get to the shops and the bank.

“It is totally unsatisfactory for the disabled to have to mix with motor traffic.”

Shire chief executive Gary Clark said the shire could not allow this to continue.

“The shire is working hard to show residents that we’re committed to providing them with quality lifestyle,” he said.

“We’re spending $14 million and have secured $7 million in funding to upgrade Abernethy Road where Coles is situated in order to ensure that residents have safe access to conveniences.”

Mr Clark said the new section of footpath is expected to be completed in the next few weeks and will extend from the Abernethy Road rail crossing to the existing red footpath on the Coles site.

He also said, at this stage the shire had not been advised whether Coles intended to help fund the footpath construction.

Coles was contacted but did not respond before deadline.