Warrnambool's community and disability sector is calling for the city's CBD controversial pedestrian crossings to be retained for the safety and inclusion of all residents.
The pedestrian-priority crossings at the roundabouts is under review by the city council, and follows calls by some sections of the community for them to go.
But Community Southwest chair and CEO of Southern Stay Disability Services, Paul Lougheed, said the community needed to support the elderly, people with a disability and their carers, parents with babies in prams and children using the existing pedestrian crossings in the Warrnambool CBD.
"This cohort needs the improved pedestrian crossings to be retained in the city to ensure they are included in the community," Mr Lougheed said.
Mr Lougheed said he was concerned that changes to the current pedestrian crossings in Warrnambool would have serious consequences for the disability sector.
"Pedestrian crossings make Warrnambool more accessible and safer for people with a disability and elderly people," he said. "Everyone should be confident and safe whilst independently moving through our city."
Mr Lougheed said population data supports the need to maintain the existing crossings.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 18 per cent of the population has a disability, which equates to 6290 people in Warrnambool. One in three of this group has severe or profound core activity limitation.
In addition, 11 per cent of the population identify as being a carer of a person with a disability, this represents 3740 people in Warrnambool. There are 2030 pre-school children, 5950 school aged students and 7750 elderly residents aged over 65 in Warrnambool.
The total number of potentially vulnerable young and elderly members of the community using pedestrian crossings is 16,730 people.
"There are well over 20,000 people in Warrnambool benefitting from access to the existing pedestrian crossings. They should be confident and safe whilst independently utilising the footpaths and roundabouts in the city," Mr Lougheed said. "Warrnambool City Council should be commended on the installation of the existing pedestrian crossings."
Executive officer Richard Zerbe said all members of the community should have the same rights to access transport, facilities and services, and retaining the existing pedestrian crossings would help to achieve that.
"We need to value all members of the community and strike the balance between vehicles and pedestrians that makes Warrnambool a safe and welcoming environment," he said.
Community Southwest is an alliance of 14 community service organisations in the south-west.
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