Cameras may police mobility parks' use
GRANT BRYANT IN QUEENSTOWN
If you are an able-bodied driver, have you ever used a mobility parking space?
Able-bodied motorists illegally using mobility parking spaces in Arrowtown's historic main street could soon be busted by "big brother" surveillance cameras.
The proposed move to use existing CCTV cameras operated by the Arrowtown Village Association to enforce restrictions on use by able-bodied motorists of the busy tourist strip of Buckingham St will be voted on by the Queenstown Lakes District Council's infrastructure services committee today.
Village association member Jim Ryan yesterday said illegal use of the two parks was an on-going issue which had been happening "forever".
"The association is trying to be proactive in solving this problem, which amounts to abuse of a resource that is vital to people who have mobility issues. We, and many of the businesses in Arrowtown, have been frustrated by the level of abuse, which is often carried out by repeat offenders," he said.
Wary of commenting further because of privacy issues surrounding the use of CCTV cameras, Mr Ryan would only say that the Queenstown Disabilities Resource Centre had worked closely with the association and Lakes Environmental - the council's regulatory arm - in undertaking a four-week trial to see if the existing CCTV system could be effective in assisting enforcement.
"As a consequence of that trial, it is proposed to use the CCTV system to assist enforcement of parking restrictions that apply to mobility parks," the agenda for the committee meeting says.
The Arrowtown Village Association has operated surveillance cameras around the historic town's business precinct since 2004.
Queenstown Disabilities Resource Centre disabilities resource consultant Jenny Stone said the common practice of able-bodied people using the mobility parks had to be stopped.
"It's a really tough position for people with mobility issues to be put in, especially in Arrowtown, because there is very limited parking space, and steep terrain off the main street. Many able-bodied people don't realise that people in wheelchairs need the extra width provided by mobility parks to manoeuvre themselves out of their vehicle.
"People who hold mobility cards also may have less obvious conditions, such as heart problems or debilitating conditions like multiple sclerosis, which also mean they need to be very close by to access a town's essential facilities. Those parks being used by able-bodied people is a matter of a basic and extreme lack of consideration for people with major health issues - and we would definitely like to see that stopped."
University of Otago faculty of law dean Mark Henaghan said he could not see, or foresee any issues of privacy being breached if the move to use CCTV against able-bodied infringers went ahead.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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