‘I feel sorry for you’
To all the people going crook about a nursing home proposal in Aitken Road, Bowral, I feel sorry for you. The one built near us at Retford Road and Hansen Street, Bowral took about 15 years to be built.
The early noise of trucks pulling up from 2am, the noise, the dust and dirt was incredible and still is. Delivery vehicles, garbage trucks – anytime from 5.30am.
Lights shining all night, air conditioners roaring away, uncovered skip bins in the carpark – all the rubbish blows our way in the wind. Cars parked as close as possible to our driveways, neighbours can’t park outside their homes, garbos can’t get to bins, young mums have no where to park to take their kids to the council bike park in Hansen Street.There are cars coming and going at the change of shift, radio’s blaring away, no regard for the speed limit.
So I hope you enjoy your experience as us people in Hansen Street are.
Forty plus people got together in the Robertson School of Arts to learn about and discuss Transport and Mobility around Robertson and in and out of town on November 14. The Forum was the second about AgeFriendly Communities.
The first Forum was a presentation by respected Australian expert on AgeFriendly Communities, Doug Faircloth from Verso Consulting, Melbourne on October 4. Fifty people at that forum heard about the benefits of a community being friendly and respectful for all ages. Such a community is able to help people remain in their own homes as they age.
When Robertson was surveyed and first settled the ‘elderly’ expected to live to about 58 years. Now that group will live to their 80s or 90s and soon to their hundreds. So how do the old and the young, mothers with prams, folk with walking aids and pensioners shop, visit friends, get health services in and out of town or take a day off trip? Easy if you are a young person with a driving licence. Easier if you can get on line with a computer, that’s if you have a computer and know how to use it. Harder as you get older or need footpaths. The Forum was to build a picture from all, especially older folk, about what it is really like getting around Robertson.
Prior to the Forum there was lively discussion on Robertson Commons Facebook page about what there is and what is needed. To enable older people not to have to go out at night the Forum was held in the middle of the day. There is, unfortunately, no perfect time for a meeting. The Facebook comments add to the complete picture.
So what happened the Forum? Lyndy Scott opened the meeting welcoming people and stating the job to be done and explained the format for the day. Everyone was invited to introduce themselves to someone nearby and say what got them to come along. The room lit up with animated conversation.
‘Ned’ Mant gave a detailed presentation on what public transport is available from his wide knowledge and experience. He answered many questions and gave advice for individual cases. It was difficult to absorb all the details. What became clear is that there is no one place from which to get all the information about times and services. So it was proposed to collect as much as possible and ask Robertson News to publish this in a future issue; to go on the fridge door.
Mark Turner distributed copies of the Southern Highlands Community Transport Client Information Handbook. Again there is a lot of information about who is eligible and what is available. To be assessed call Aged Care on 1800 200. To find out about services call 48723722 or on line www.shct.com.au.
Several people expressed concern about the safety of walking on Robertson roads. There are not a lot of formed footpaths and there are several dangerous roads for anyone let alone people with prams or walking mobility frames or scooters. South Street, upper Caalong Street, Main Street should be part of a footpath review for the town. It would be good to know what the council footpath policy is. Safer footpaths are a necessity for health and wellbeing for all ages. Currently, not only is there an absence of footpaths but several of the verges are overgrown with noxious weeds including poisonous Hemlock. Kaye Simpkin advised all to wear light coloured, visible clothes when walking.
Those attending were appreciative of the Forum. They realised there is more to do. And that matters raised need attention, particularly information about transport options and pedestrian safe roads and footpaths. We often hear people say, ‘We went to a meeting and contributed; but nothing happened’. No wonder residents and ratepayers are cynical when their expectations are raised and then there is no follow up. The organisers will be reporting to the mayor on the Forum, as we have been invited to do so. It is also up to everyone to do what they can and to raise matters with the responsible bodies about matters of concern to the community. Developing Robertson into an AgeFriendly town is a generational project. There will be ongoing discussion and information sessions with one on Healthy Ageing planned for next year. Thanks to all who organised and took part in the Transport and Mobility Forum.