Businesses asked to Keep It Clear!

Wollongong City Council is asking all business owners and retailers to help provide easy access for all people through the Keep It Clear campaign.

Following a project that involved community members who are blind or have low vision, students from TAFE Wollongong, and Vision Australia, Council launched the Keep It Clear campaign last October to show how small actions can have a big impact on the lives of people with blindness or low vision.

The campaign focuses on ensuring that the built environment and infrastructure such as the Crown Street Mall provides easy, safe and good access for all people, including those with low vision or blindness and those with a disability.

Wollongong City Lord Mayor Councillor Gordon Bradbery OAM said Council has been working with local businesses, Vision Australia and Council’s Access Reference Group to help create attitudes that will foster easy access for all people visiting the city.

“When we launched the Campaign in October last year we had only just completed the Crown Street Mall.

“We now need to reinforce the messages that people placing A frame advertising, clothing on racks, shopping trolleys, and even litter can create major, and sometimes dangerous, challenges for people with blindness or low vision or those with a disability.”

Helen Dooley, Manager of Vision Australia Wollongong said Vision Australia fully supports the initiative.

“We especially congratulate the community members and students who created the campaign posters and slogans.

“Safe pathways of travel around a city are an important part of enabling independence for all people, and the community would be appreciative of business owners and individuals who are mindful of keeping pathways, driveways and shopfronts clear of obstructions.”

Lord Mayor Cr Bradbery said that unless you have experience with blindness or low vision you may not even be aware these things are issues.

“But leaving your car parked partially over a footpath or putting out a sandwich board in a walkway can create a fall hazard or force people onto the roadway to avoid it.

“Broken glass on the ground can cause injury to seeing eye dogs which also takes away their owner’s independence and mobility.”

The Keep it Clear campaign includes a series of posters which are displayed on bus shelters, in community facilities and businesses around Wollongong and online.