Tauranga's disabled community is aghast at the city council's defence of a wonky footpath they feel they won't be able to use.

The offending path on Te Ranga Memorial Drive in The Lakes curves in and out every few metres, creating a kinky appearance. It is part of new development in the area, which does not yet have any residents.

Disabled Person's Assembly's Paul Curry is horrified the normally helpful Tauranga City Council approved a wonky footpath the group feels some won't be able to use. Photo/file
Disabled Person's Assembly's Paul Curry is horrified the normally helpful Tauranga City Council approved a wonky footpath the group feels some won't be able to use. Photo/file

However, Paul Curry from the Disabled Person's Assembly said he had received calls from several members of the group expressing concern and bewilderment at the footpath.

"We can't understand why you would design a path that actually puts in more barriers for people," he said.

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"It's just beggars belief."

Curry said his main concerns were for blind people walking with a cane and people using wheelchairs and mobility scooters.

"There is a large population of disabled people in Tauranga and of that a large number use scooters," he said.

"It will be easier to go on the road than the footpath, and that's my concern."

Curry said he believed the city council was the best in New Zealand for access and inclusion of disabled people, which was why he and others were dumbfounded to see the path and read the council's defence published in the Bay of Plenty Times this week.

We can't understand why you would design a path that actually puts in more barriers for people.

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"We are very much that kind of community here. We pride ourselves that we have a vision for Tauranga to be the most inclusive city in New Zealand.

"This is just another barrier we don't need. It's not good."

When asked how the path fitted with the council's objectives to be a disabled-friendly city, council asset delivery manager Howard Severinsen said the council would meet members of the Disabled Persons Assembly at the site to get their opinions.

"We think it's acceptable but we're getting an independent safety specialist to assess the footpath. The council's disability strategy aims to make sure people are able to move about the city easily and safely without being limited by the environment.

"That's something we take very seriously."

Severinsen said the footpath was designed and constructed by Classic Builders and accommodated street trees and services such as water main and gas.

"It is their project and their cost."

No one from Classic Builders could be reached for comment last night.