A legally blind man says he can no longer walk alone on Mount Maunganui's main street because tables, chairs and signs are creeping further into the middle of the footpath.

Robert Codre, 71, is partially-sighted, meaning he can see some shapes and shadows but struggles to identify anything else. He is legally blind and uses a cane.

Codre, who has lived in Tauranga for 30 years, used to walk down the main street of the Mount at least two or three times a week as part of his walking route. He lives nearby.

He would put his cane into a particular groove in the footpath and follow it along.


But Codre stopped doing that after bumping into tables, chairs, dress stands and sandwich boards, he said.

"I gave it a good go because I'm not one to just grizzle for the sake of it. But I thought, nah, this is no good because if my cane goes under the chair, it's too late," Codre said.

"If I bump into anyone having their latte or something like that, they can pack a shitty with me and I don't want to do that anyway."

One side of the street was worse than the other, he said.

Codre said he now had to take another route on his walks - unless someone joined him.

"I would never be able to go down there now on my own.

"I'm forced to go somewhere where I don't necessarily want to have to go."

He complained to Tauranga City Council, not just for him but for others with disabilities, as well as people pushing prams or who use mobility scooters.

"I just think they need to consider the likes of me and abide by the bylaw."

The council confirmed it had received a complaint about this case and said it would be looked into by its bylaws team.

Its manager of strategy and governance, Jacinda Lean, said placing tables, chairs and umbrellas on footpaths was allowed but was subject to conditions set out in the Street Use and Public Places Bylaw.

One of these conditions states "the furniture must not be placed in or otherwise obstruct the pedestrian way".

She said the council regularly conducted checks of busy footpaths, worked closely with businesses to encourage them to provide a safe, accessible clearway, and also talked with businesses if they were encroaching on the space.

"We are aware, however, that chairs and tables on footpaths are still an issue in some streets, sometimes getting in the way of pedestrians and mobility device users."

The council wants the city's footpaths to be accessible for everyone, Lean said.

"We want to find a balance between vibrant business areas with al fresco dining, business promotion and effective and safe movement of people."

She said the council was reviewing the bylaw to make it better for all footpath users.

The Disability Advisory Group also provided feedback as part of the review process, which will be used to help shape the rules around street furniture on footpaths.

Mount Mainstreet chairwoman Jane Debenham said she was unaware of any issues.

"By all means, if somebody came and spoke to us we could talk to the businesses concerned. Nobody wants to have somebody who is blind not being able to come down our street."

She said she thought all businesses were currently complying with the bylaw.

Council staff had been out in the past and spoken with any businesses where there was an issue, Debenham said.

"If people can let us know that they are unhappy we will definitely take some action and take it further."