Port Lincoln City Council called on to deliver footpaths

PATH: Peter Elston demonstrates the difficulty he faces walking along Hawson Place with no formal footpath in place. Photo: Jarrad Delaney
PATH: Peter Elston demonstrates the difficulty he faces walking along Hawson Place with no formal footpath in place. Photo: Jarrad Delaney

A Port Lincoln resident has called for the Port Lincoln City Council to provide more footpaths across areas of the city after sharing his own difficulties getting around with his lack of vision.

Peter Elston lives on Hawson Place in the Kirton Point area and is legally blind due to having diabetes, having ceased driving in 2015.

Mr Elston said there is no footpath outside his home which has made it difficult to walk up the street, and with his vision gradually getting worse he was in need of a smooth, safe surface to walk along.

He said he first raised the issue with the council five years ago, and did not receive a satisfactory answer.

"The (walking) stick I have has a wheel at the end of it and it doesn't work without a smooth surface to work on," he said.

"I bought my house in 2014 and there's never been a footpath outside my house."

Mr Elston said he had spoken with other residents who had faced issues, such as wheeling a pram along their local streets.

He also questioned why most areas in Port Lincoln only had one footpath along one side of the road, when regional cities like Alice Springs or Broken Hill had footpaths on both sides of roads in most areas.

"It's fine having one footpath on one side of the road, but a blind person can't see that," he said.

"I'm not the only blind person in Port Lincoln."

The council updated its footpath strategy in 2018, based on a network review in 2016, which at the time identified about 182km of footpaths in the city and more than 300 road segments where no footpath existed and required construction.

Chief executive officer Matthew Morgan said in recent years council had allocated $100,000 of renewal funding to repair and replace existing footpaths and $100,000 to construct new ones.

He said in accordance with the strategy the council was working towards constructing footpaths in areas identified with medium-high and high need, accounting for "key travel generators" such as schools, open spaces and other facilities which generate foot traffic.

"Council can construct approximately between 700 to 800 metres of new footpath for each $100,000 of budget allocated," he said.

"This financial year, council has allocated an additional $300,000 for the construction of new footpaths, and given the above factors, the final planning of exact footpath segments to be constructed is being completed."

Mr Morgan said the plan for the financial year would include footpaths in Lincoln Gardens (in and around Whait Reserve), at Kirton Point (in and around Nelson Square) and central Port Lincoln.

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