Mandurah facilities fail to meet needs of disabled

Glenn and Alyce Cooke encountered numerous access issues at Rushton Park during a visit recently. Picture: Jon Hewson www.communitypix.com.au d398685
Glenn and Alyce Cooke encountered numerous access issues at Rushton Park during a visit recently. Picture: Jon Hewson www.communitypix.com.au d398685

Now, things like soft sand, and a lack of ramps, disabled toilet and disabled parking facilities present challenges.

He was a keen diver and sports fan before he fell victim to an unfortunate medical condition three years ago.

While spearfishing and diving for crayfish, Mr Cooke became a victim of the dreaded bends. Nitrogen bubbles built up in his bloodstream, putting pressure on his spinal cord.

An ambulance rushed him to Fremantle Hospital, where a decompression chamber saved his life, but not his mobility.

Mr Cooke visited Rushton Park to watch Peel Thunder play the East Fremantle Sharks two weeks ago.

Accompanied by his daughter Alyce, who gave up university to care for her father full time, Mr Cooke encountered multiple problems on the day.

‘We got to the ground and were let in via the side gate facing the forum,’ Ms Cooke said.

‘We had to go up a ramp made of dirt.

‘It was very steep and if I wasn’t behind dad’s chair, he would have fallen.’

At half time, Mr Cooke needed to use the toilet, not an easy thing at the best of times.

To use the disabled toilet facilities Mr Cooke had to exit the ground and travel uphill via a busy road, around to the front of the building.

Then they travelled through the members bar facilities, where ‘people were intoxicated and wouldn’t let us through’.

‘I’m not bringing attention to the facilities at Rushton Park to be vindictive,’ he said.

‘I have found conditions to be as bad at the WACA as well.

‘It’s just if you don’t say something and get it out there, things won’t change.’

The City of Mandurah is building toilets with disabled facilities at ground level this year.

These toilets were in the original plans for the stadium that was opened two years ago and were included in this year’s budget at a cost of $250,000.

The old undercroft changerooms will become public toilets and a kiosk.