Uproar over Ipswich school’s disabled parking
A handicapped grandmother claims she is being discriminated against following the removal of a disabled parking bay next to North Ipswich State School.
Mel Duckett, who lives with multiple physical ailments, spoke of her frustration at the situation which has reportedly hindered her access to the school.
It is understood Ipswich City Council removed the nearby handicapped parking on Fitzgibbon Street – once located directly in front of the school office – in 2018.
In need of a knee replacement and suffering severe back pain, Ms Duckett said a lack of accessibility meant others in a similar situation could likely be forced to walk long distances.
She said the lack of disabled parking also contributed to her inability to access the school office, which is located at the top of a small set of steps.
“I can’t even walk the stairs anymore, when my spine broke a while back I had really bad nerve pain – I still do.”
“Me in my condition, I can pull up at the school, but I can no longer park.
“It makes things incredibly difficult for me if there are none available.
“The staff have had to come outside to meet me because I can’t access the office anymore.”
Ipswich North State School does not offer any on-site parking.
Parking in Fitzgibbon St is considered to be Ipswich City Council property.
Ms Duckett said upon further discussion with school officials over the matter she was informed that on-site disabled parking would not be introduced.
“They said there’s no room for one in the school,” Ms Duckett said.
“Where is the fairness in this? I need a knee replacement and now I can’t access the school.”
A spokesman for The Queensland Department of Education confirmed there were no plans to introduce disability parking on school grounds.
“Ipswich North State School is a heritage-listed school and is located on a restricted site,” he said.
“The school does not have the capacity for on-site parking and does not offer disabled parking.
“Parking is available outside the main entrance of Ipswich North State School on Fitzgibbon Street, which falls within the responsibility of Ipswich City Council.”
Ms Duckett said the decision to remove the bay had resulted in a blame game between the Department of Education and Ipswich City Council.
“The school blames Council, but Council says the school said to remove it and that they would make provision inside the school,” she said.
“But where? It's supposed to be a diverse school.”
“I’m entitled to disabled car parks, it’s a discrimination thing to me.”
An Ipswich City Council spokeswoman said that a review of parking on Fitzgibbon Street was undertaken in 2018.
“Following a detailed investigation, and in consultation with the school, several changes were made to kerbside parking on the streets around the school,” she said.
“These changes included removal of the non-compliant disability parking bay and installation of a passenger loading zone.
“To facilitate these changes the school agreed to accommodate disability parking within the school grounds.”
She said Council would be eager to work further with the Department of Education to revisit the matter.
Read more stories by Kaitlyn Smith here.