I have an issue that is close to my heart and I need your help to undo an injustice in my local community. Wamuran Market Shopping Centre has closed the ONLY disabled toilet in the area. This affects me personally as a mother of a daughter in a wheelchair and pretty much all of her life I have had to fight for equal rights, rights to access a mainstream school and to have a suitable toilet there for her to use. The basic human right to be able to access a toilet when and where you need to has been taken away from Kirsten in our own local community, where she has lived all her life.
I have lived in the area for 23 years, have 3 daughters who have grown up here, Kirsten my eldest daughter is in a wheelchair. Wamuran Markets are our local shop, we shop there all the time we have a post office, a butcher, a bakery, a hair dresser, a fish and chip shop, a bottle shop, a takeaway food shop, pretty much everything you need EXCEPT A DISABLED TOILET!
Access to the toilet was closed off 12 months ago for no good reason. They have boarded up the original door and have just recently put up a huge sign which completely covered the old door so it looks like it was never there. Management have stated that it was only ever to be used as a staff toilet, but it has been open for 10 years as a disabled toilet, so why suddenly the change? This “disabled staff toilet” can only be accessed through the Beauty Therapy Salon so the question has to be asked ….what staff get to use it? Especially since the Beauty Salon is only open limited hours and not everyday. I’m sure no staff working in any of the other shops would see the need for the disabled toilet to be “staff only” All up there are 3 sets of toilets in the complex, but only one disabled. So why choose the only disabled toilet to be the staff toilet? The other two toilets are just as accessible to staff, but not at all accessible for wheelchairs. The shopping centre is a busy place with lots of people coming and going, there’s also a big aging population so it is total discrimination against people with a disability or rhe elderly that they have closed THE ONLY disabled toilet. Beside if you ask for a key to use a toilet they send you to the one near the outdoor eating area, which amazingly enough has a huge sign in it saying “This is our staff toilet so please help us keep it tidy”. So how come patrons can use that “STAFF” toilet but not the disabled one. I wonder if the clients of the Beauty therapist get to use the disabled toilet, they are not staff, it has essentially become her own personal bathroom I wonder if her rent reflects that! Also interesting to note the person that owns the shopping centre works for an organisation that helps re-house homeless people, it’s a shame she doesn’t have the same compassion for the Disabled!
We have pursued many avenues to get the toilets re-opened, having put an article in the local paper, been on talk back radio on 4BC, the local council has even fined them, but to no avail. I cannot believe the management at Wamuran Markets are so heartless as to close this toilet. Even with the communities’ outrage they still stand firm against re-opening it.
I think the only way to make a change is to make other people aware of what is going on, and to create a public outcry at the injustice of it all. Put pressure on them to do the right thing, that’s why I need your help to support me in this petition. Let all your friends know, we need to get as many people out there as we can to support this petition to give Kirsten and every other disabled person the equality that they deserve.