Club criticised for being 'out of touch'
The Port Hedland Turf Club has recently faced criticism for a lack of disabled access to toilets on site.
The criticism followed an incident whereby a disabled man could not use toilet facilities as there was no ramp to accommodate his wheelchair.
Combined Universities Centre for Rural Health research assistant Joan Foley was outraged by the episode and said the Town of Port Hedland, who own turf club property, were out of touch with the disabled community.
“I think they need to get more in touch with the real world,” she said.
“That’s shire property, and it’s a basic human right (to use toilets). They are in breach of the law.”
The town referred the issue to the club when raised, but a spokesperson for the club who wished to remain anonymous said they were not at fault.
“The shire put that there. They didn’t see fit to put a ramp,” he said.
“Now we’re responsible for it.
''The only back up we had was the old toilet block further along, which has a ramp, but once inside it’s a bit hard (to move).”
The spokesperson blamed lack of communication between town and club for the misdemeanour.
“I’m not really up with local politics. But without a doubt … with events that have happened over three or four months, there isn’t a good communication between shire and turf club,” he said.
Ms Foley said the council was asked to provide accessible facilities a year ago, and was surprised the Circus Royale, who had visited Hedland recently, could provide access to a transportable toilet they used.
“The shire was asked 12 months ago to get an accessible toilet that could be transportable, and they just picked out what was too hard about it, so they wouldn’t have to do it,” she said.
“If a little circus can manage to make their activities fully inclusive, this council needs to look clearly at themselves and see what the hell are they doing.”
Club treasurer Arnold Carter said the town had agreed to lease or purchase disabled toilets after the issue was raised.
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