Herald Sun: East West Link protest van can stay, for now. Samantha Landy 23 January, 2014 9:11PM
The van parked in the disabled spot. Source: Supplied
THE East West Link protest caravan dumped in a disabled parking bay in Melbourne’s inner north will not be removed by the council, despite a backlash from disability advocates and local traders.
Revelations in the Herald Sun this week that the City of Yarra has allowed the caravan “headquarters” to remain in the space, near the corner of Westgarth and Brunswick streets, for the past four months have seen the council dubbed “weak” and “disgraceful” by readers.
Rather than demand the van vacate the spot, which has easy-access ramps for wheelchairs built into the stone gutters, councillors moved it.
Yarra mayor Jackie Fristacky said the council had been advised by protesters that they were hoping to repair the van to make it roadworthy so it could be moved.
“For that reason, we’re allowing the caravan to stay there for the time being,” she said.
“The temporary disabled car park … will remain there until such time as the caravan moves and the original space is made available again.”
She previously told the Herald Sun towing the van would have been “extreme” as there was “significant community support” for the protest group’s objectives.
Disability Advocacy Victoria’s Janet Ashford said the group was “disgusted” by the council’s actions.
“The councillors who made this decision clearly have little understanding of the impact this will have on people who struggle to access local shops and services,” she said.
Disability Discrimination Commissioner for the Australian Human Rights Commission Graeme Innes said it was vital the parking space had the same functions as the original spot. “If it doesn’t, the council really needs to carry out that work so that none of its citizens are disadvantaged,” Mr Innes said.