Wodonga Council blasted by retired pilot over state of footpaths in city for motorised scooter

Poor lip service: Peter Leigh-Lancaster demonstrates how a gutter's construction and driveway slope can leave a scooter stranded. Picture: MARK JESSER
Poor lip service: Peter Leigh-Lancaster demonstrates how a gutter's construction and driveway slope can leave a scooter stranded. Picture: MARK JESSER

A GRANDFATHER who sold his car and bought a scooter to travel around now feels isolated because of damaged footpaths and gutters that are “like the Grand Canyon”.

West Wodonga resident Peter Leigh-Lancaster, 84, says he has been left stuck in gutters with his scooters’ wheels spinning but unable to move.

“There’s inches variations in the footpaths and everything is so steep, the gutters seem like the Grand Canyon when you’re trying to get across them,” he said.

“I’ve been sitting there with wheels spinning because the gutters have a deep lip.”

The former fighter pilot said he had become stuck at the corner of Gayview Drive and Lawrence Street and relied on a passing handyman in his ute stopping to dislodge him.

Mr Leigh-Lancaster sold his car last year after losing sensation in his right foot due to diabetes.

He said he had hoped to drive his scooter regularly to High Street and Birallee for shopping but had “given up”.

“I’ve restricted my travel now to APCO and Mayfair Drive,” Mr Leigh-Lancaster said.

He says Wodonga Council needs to do more and in particular improve the crossings along Melrose Drive.

“My view is they couldn’t give a tinker’s cuss about the old people to tell you the truth,” Mr Leigh-Lancaster said.

Wodonga Council says “it has not received many complaints in relation to access by those on scooters” but it tries to “rectify issues in a prompt manner”.

Mr Leigh-Lancaster's stuck scooter

The city said Mr Leigh-Lancaster had been invited to be part of its access advisory committee which recommends improvements to footpaths.

“Any new footpaths that are constructed ensure accessibility by all,” it said.

“The old footpath crossing standards weren’t designed for mobility scooters and there are a large number of old crossings across the city.

“With more than 400 kilometres of footpaths in the city, we rely on the residents of Wodonga to notify the council when there are issues.”

The council has plans to install pedestrian signals on Melrose Drive at Brockley Street and Lawrence Street.