Village green accessible for all
The grass has never looked greener for elderly residents in Meander Valley Council in northern Tasmania.
Phyllis Ingamells has lived in Westbury for most of her life. At age 96, she has seen significant change, most recently to her beloved Village Green.
Seating upgrades have improved accessibility and ensured that all members of the community can enjoy the Village Green for many years to come.
“The old picnic tables became very difficult to use. In order to access them you had to climb over the seats. The new park furniture is much more user-friendly and attractive,” Phyllis said.
Westbury Health raised the accessibility issue with Councillor Bob Richardson in March.
By August, Meander Valley Council’s works crews had installed eight new settings, three of which are wheelchair accessible and three new bench seats. “My wife Cheryl is a member of the Westbury Health Advisory Committee and together we undertook some field trips to research possible alternatives,” Cr Richardson said.
The community could not be happier with the upgrades, and the speed at which they were completed.
“I was impressed with how quickly the seating was installed, given that my letter to Council was sent at the end of March this year,” said Eve from Westbury Health.
The Westbury Village Green dates back to the 1830s and is a site of historical significance.
With its towering oak trees it is reputed to be one of the most traditional village greens in Australia.
“The community has worked collaboratively with Council over many years and as a result the Village Green has become an attraction in itself,” Cr Richardson said.
Arguably one of the most ‘English’ villages in Australia, Westbury is steeped in history and many of the original buildings that surround the Green have intriguing stories to tell. (Even the local RSL has a jail cell in its kitchen.)
“Westbury is one of the few places where history remains incredibly tangible,” Cr Richardson said.
“The community and Council have worked hard to ensure that its convict past complements the town’s modern advancement and growth.”