I write in reponse to the story about Peter Leigh-Lancaster’s complaints regarding the state of footpaths in Wodonga (‘Scooter rider fuming over footpaths’, The Border Mail, February 10).
The footpaths are not designed for scooters or electric wheelchairs. Folk who use scooters or wheelchairs are supposed to use the roads. I have given up using footpaths and now use, where ever possible, any available road.
I have yet to learn of any footpath or gutter designing engineer that bothers to use scooters or wheelchairs to test what they design or build. Architects and engineers who design our public facilities obviously have no idea of how to design with disabled people in mind. For example, the disabled toilets in the new MAMA building cannot be used by disabled people without help. The architect who designed the Centrepoint complex in Albury had no idea of the danger of his cobblestone footpath at the entrance. Even in the Albury city centre, the paver footpath in Swift Street near the Albury Civic Centre is simply too rough to use.
Electric scooters and wheelchairs have small wheels and don’t have shock absorbers. Scooters require wider doors than usual. Door knobs and other things need to be in reach. And there even seems to be stupid people who think that scooters and wheelchairs are able to climb steps because many shops have steps at their entrances.
So, Peter, get a fluro jacket, a big flag and brave the traffic on the roads. You are wasting your time trying to explain to people who just won’t listen.
Gordon Osmond, West Albury
Question of character
I don’t care to know anything at all about the romantic lives of our politicians. But I do care to know something about their character.
After all, the character of a politician is clearly relevant to their representation of an electorate, and character is something politicians attack their opponents over all the time.
Barnaby Joyce has said one thing, and done another. That is something that is surely relevant to his capacity as a politician.
Margaret Smith, Wodonga
Don’t leave kids behind
In NSW schools we have special education classes where students with learning difficulties are not only supported by dedicated teachers and aides, but are also supported by their fellow classmates. In a special ed class they are not taunted, bullied or left behind in the backwash.
In Victorian schools, students with a learning disability are integrated into the mainstream classes. They are put in a position where they open to derisiveness, bullying and a feeling of isolation which can lead to anger and frustration. Mainstream teachers have to teach the curriculum, which can leave a learning disability child unable to process it all and through no fault of their own, lose interest and fail.
Special ed classes not only educate these children with special needs in a way that they can understand, but also teach them life skills so that they can survive after school. Special ed kids are taught manners and respect for themselves and others and given workplaces to work in voluntarily to gain experience thanks to generous businesses and the support of aides.
Shoving these kids into mainstream is both cruel and counter productive. Many of these kids will fall through the net and end up on the street, in gaol, or worse still, suicide. How is this fair or compassionate?