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Fed up with mobility parking thieves

By STUART WHITAKER on Tuesday, 10 October 2017

A Te Puke man with disabilities is calling for more consideration from motorists parking in the town's mobility parks.

John Judson says on one occasion he walked around the town centre and noted that all but one of the mobility spaces in Jellicoe St were occupied by vehicles without mobility permits.

"We were taking photos but after the second one, we decided not to because my boy was afraid we might upset someone," says John.

The 51-year-old broke his C3 vertebrae in a car crash on the Raglan deviation in 2007, but the break wasn't discovered for seven years.

He is 51 per cent disabled and has dyspraxia - movement difficulties.

His condition is such that his ability to get around varies.

"On some days I'm fine and I'll take a normal park but on others I just have to drag my body around," he says.

"On a good day, if I've been nice and relaxed, I can walk and almost look normal - well I think I do - but on a bad day I shudder and shake."

He admits he has had a number of run-ins with other drivers and, while the issue affects him, he doesn't want to get angry about it.

He also believes the problem has got worse since the town centre refurbishment that resulted in a reduction in the number of parking spaces in Jellicoe St.

"It's just that people need to be aware - and parking has become a problem, although I love what they have done in the main street."

John has been told that he can report motorists by taking a photograph and filling in a form at the police station, but says that is not something he can easily do because of his dyspraxia.

"And for every car?"

John lives in Te Matai Rd and regularly visits the town centre, especially when his sons are at Te Puke Gymsport when he drives into town.

He says he just wants people to be considerate.

Western Bay of Plenty District Council's compliance and monitoring manager Alison Curtis says mobility parks in the Western Bay are governed by the Traffic and Parking Enforcement Bylaw (2008).

The bylaw states that only vehicles carrying disabled persons and displaying a permit may be parked in the spaces allocated, she says.

"It is an offence to illegally park in these designated parks. Council does penalise the misuse of these parks with an infringement fee of $150. The fee is set by Government and applies nationally."

In Te Puke 34 infringements have been issued for parking in a mobility zone without displaying a mobility parking permit since January 1 2017. A further 17 were waived when a permit was produced.

"Bear in mind that some mobility permit parking card holders forget to display their cards, so despite the card not being on the dashboard, it could be that is has fallen on the floor or still in the glovebox," she says.



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