Access for elderly, disabled 'denied'

By UTE SCHULENBERG

URUNGA is buzzing with the sounds of discontent about the draft management strategy for the Morgo Street Reserve.

What has locals particularly upset is the proposal to close the vehicle access through the caravan park to the very popular Lido swimming and Urunga Lagoon boardwalk areas.

They say easy access for the elderly and disabled is being denied.

Long-time resident Irene Hayward said the plan favoured visitors staying in the caravan park over locals.

"I've been swimming here for 20 years," Mrs Haywood said.

"Access is vital and should not be taken away from the people who live here all year round, in favour of visitors who are only here for a week each year. They also want to take away the car park."

Another resident, Frank Riley, said the proposal to make the main day visitor access via a pedestrian/bicycle path near the Ocean View Hotel was not acceptable.

"That's an extra 400m or so for people to walk," Mr Riley said.

"For elderly and disabled people, that extra distance is difficult."

Not everyone is against the plan.

Urunga Hardware owner Greg McPhee said the 20 year plan was fantastic, providing maximum access to seaside recreation for locals and visitors.

"The plan puts cycle ways and walkways through the entire 27 acres (10.8ha) of the park," Mr McPhee said.

"It also addresses the problem of caravan park security, which has been getting worse.

"I understand the issue of disabled parking needs to be addressed perhaps special access permits for those people would be one way to solve this.

"It's important people make suggestions about what they want in their submissions."

Urunga's chamber of commerce president Steve Allan said the plan had not yet been examined in any detail.

"Clearly, improvements to the caravan park and foreshore areas are needed, however public access is very important," Mr Allan said.

A public meeting to discuss the plan is being held on Tuesday at the Urunga Bowling Club, 6.30pm.

Submissions close on January 11.



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