Home' The Canberra Times : Chronicle 24.01.12 Contents THE CHRONICLE, Tuesday, January 25 2011 - 8
Taxi changes don't go far enough
From page 1
Christina Ryan rides past one of the wheelchair accessible taxis her chair is unable to fit in. Picture: Elesa Lee
WAT Consortium representative Chri-
stina Ryan doesn't agree with all of the
''There are some positives in there
but obviously we're disappointed
they've taken a minimal approach to
wheelchair taxis,'' she said.
The consortium believes the govern-
ment is wasting money on the central-
ised booking service which was trialled
''only to fail'' three years ago.
''It didn't work, it wasn't sustain-
able,'' Ms Ryan said.
''We're really disturbed they're
taking that approach rather than look-
ing at the existing system.''
Instead the consortium would like to
see a single WAT fleet implemented,
which then runs its own centralised
''It's really the only profit making
service that wheelchair users actually
have to rely on. We're extremely
disappointed that we've again being
asked to wait a bit longer,'' Ms Ryan
From July 1, any new WAT vehicles
will be required to be able to carry a
minimum of two people in
wheelchairs, which Ms Ryan said
addresses a serious issue with the
capital's current WATs.
''We're really glad they're making
the taxis larger,'' she said.
''Currently 11 of the 26 in Canberra
are too small for most wheelchairs.''
Ms Ryan was also pleased the report
indicated there would be an increase in
WAT driver training as well as the
introduction of a regulatory system.
''We are interested and excited to
see how many people are able to get
out and about because there are extra
taxis on the road,'' she said.
''At the moment, if you haven't
booked one it's almost impossible to
get a spontaneous taxi. We know there
are people who have given up jobs,
who have given up courses, because
they couldn't get there reliably.''
ACT Greens spokeswoman Amanda
Bresnan agreed WATs had received a
''half-hearted'' response from the gov-
She would like to see a ''stand alone
non-profit community service for dis-
''Again, the government's response
has been tried and failed,'' she said.
''Unless we change the situation
where we have essential transport for
people with a disability being run for a
profit, then we are likely to see people
who use wheel chairs being left
Virtual hall for social interaction
ANU students Tasnim Hossain, Hannah Purdy, Se
´ bastien Willis and Daniel Smith are now members of Griffin
Picture: Elesa Lee
OFF-CAMPUS students at the ANU
can now access all of the benefits of
residential life, without having to put
up with loud neighbours and small
ANU has become the first university
in Australia to open a non-residential
Griffin Hall will offer academic
support and social engagement for up
to 350 non-residential students at
It will also provide access to a range
of social, cultural and sporting events
that are usually associated with estab-
lished residential halls and colleges.
The president of the Griffin Hall
Members' Association, Se
lis, made the concept his election
promise when he ran for vice president
of the 2010 ANU Students' Associ-
As a student at the ANU for the past
five years, Mr Willis had witnessed the
opportunities colleges offered to his
friends living on campus.
''Not just in terms of the pastoral
support and the academic support -- but
just the opportunity to meet people
from different places who study all
sorts of things,'' he said.
''Those sorts of bonds that you
make there are what uni is about and
it's something that non-residential
students were really missing out on.''
When Daniel Smith came to the
ANU from Queensland, he found it
hard to make friends living off-
''I found myself in this sort of grey
area, where I didn't come from
Canberra but I didn't go to college
either, I think there's a lot of people in
that grey area where it's hard to meet
people,'' he said.
''In my experience, it was the
opinion of a lot of students that they
were missing out on this college
experience and they were very jealous
of all the social events and the sense of
community that students at a college
Mr Smith took part in Griffin Hall's
trial semester last year and liked the
experience so much that he signed up
again for 2011.
Members of Griffin Hall are as-
signed virtual 'floors' and community
assistants are appointed to look after
the welfare of the students on each
Members also can join sporting
teams, allowing them to participate in
inter-hall events and competitions
alongside residential students.
As much as possible, Griffin Hall
aims to replicate residential life, with-
out a lot of the disadvantages that come
with the experience.
''We're not living together, which is
one of the things some people mightn't
like about college and we don't have to
eat the college food, so there are a lot
of differences,'' Mr Smith said.
Rising cost of lake
debris clean up
Piles of debris still remains at Black Mountain Peninsula from the
floods at the end of last year.
Picture: Elesa Lee
THE National Capital Authority
(NCA) expects to spend $500,000
cleaning up and restoring Lake
Burley Griffin following the damage
caused by the Queanbeyan floods
The clean up began mid-
December, as soon as the NCA was
able to access the lake.
''Because of the sewerage spill at
Queanbeyan, we weren't able to get
into the lake straight away,'' a
spokeswoman from the NCA said.
The first phase of the clean up
was to remove the majority of the
debris, which has been stockpiled in
five locations around the lake.
The spokeswoman said the NCA
hoped to have the large piles of
debris cleared by the end of March.
''We've been working hard to get
those out, it is a really big job,'' she
The next job for the NCA is to
remove eight larger trees from the
East Basin, which, due to their large
size, are proving to be a more
''We've been trialling a number
of things to get them out,'' the
''We're now looking at possibly
winching them out with a truck.''
The final phase of the remediation
work is expected to take up to six
months to fix.
Large debris has caused damage
to the jetties, bridges and buoy lines
around the lake, which will take
longer to repair.
''There's also large pillars under-
neath the surface, we don't know if
they have been moved as well.''
The spokeswoman said the NCA
had been getting a lot of support
from sporting groups and lake users,
and she hoped this would continue
until the remaining work was com-
''We have done a big clean up,
but we're still asking people to
continue exercising caution,'' she
ACT Policing is investigating a
disturbance in Civic in the early
hours of Saturday, January 22.
Police were called to Genge Street,
Civic at about 3am after six males
were reported to be involved in an
altercation. Units from Woden,
Gungahlin and Belconnen attended
and police physically restrained
several of the people involved. ACT
Ambulance Service paramedics
treated a number of people at the
scene and two males were later
conveyed to The Canberra
Hospital. Both are in a stable
Police are seeking witnesses to the
incident and investigations are
ongoing. Anyone with information
that could assist the investigation is
urged to contact Crime Stoppers in
1800 333 000 or via the website at
ACT Policing arrested a man for an
attempted aggravated robbery in
North Lyneham on Wednesday,
January 19. At about 7.15pm a man
entered a store in North Lyneham
and threatened the owner with a
knife. Despite repeated attempts by
the owner to open the till she was
unable to open it and the man left
the store. The owner of the store
was not physically harmed but
recognised the man as a frequent
customer. The 25-year-old man
was arrested outside his home in
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