Council pushes for station lifts

By Shannon Tonkin
Updated November 5 2012 - 4:11pm, first published February 2 2012 - 9:19pm
Gian Malle with Cr Blicavs at Unanderra station, which was promised lifts several years ago. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

Wollongong council will lobby the State Government to install lifts at every city train station in a bid to make train travel more accessible for the region's disabled and elderly.Councillor Michelle Blicavs used this week's council meeting to call for State Government funding to install a lift at Unanderra Railway Station to cater for what she said was a large number of elderly and disabled clients using the platform.However, the council rejected Cr Blicavs' motion in favour of a stronger stance on the issue of public transport access.Councillors instead voted to support Greg Petty's amendment, which sought to have lifts installed at all railway stations in Wollongong.At present only Helensburgh, Thirroul, Bulli, North Wollongong and Wollongong stations are fitted with lifts.A further 15 stations within the city do not have lifts, and 12 are inaccessible via wheelchair.Cr Blicavs said Unanderra acted as a transport hub, with at least three retirement villages and aged care facilities located in the immediate area.She said the former Labor state government had promised lifts as part of a multimillion-dollar upgrade to the station during their term, however residents were still waiting."Residents continue to traipse up and down those dilapidated stairs, often carrying bikes and prams," she said."I believe it's now time for this council to make strong representations to the State Government, the Minister for Transport and the Minister for the Illawarra to ensure this upgrade is included in the next budget, regardless of cost."But Cr Petty said the council must press the State Government to commit funds to upgrade all Wollongong stations to make them modern and access-friendly.The council voted to support Cr Petty's amendment.A RailCorp spokesman said NSW Transport was reviewing new demographic data to determine the future program for station upgrades.

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