Plaza ignores safety calls
CALLS from tenants and staff of Alstonville Plaza businesses to improve the safety of the shopping centre car park for pedestrians have fallen on deaf ears for more than five years.
In 2007 plaza tenants organised a petition that more than 800 Alstonville residents signed, calling for management to upgrade car-parking facilities to improve pedestrian safety, but management failed to act.
Following that, several tenants said they had approached management to seek permission to install bollards outside their businesses but were told they were not allowed.
Tenants and staff have said they fear for their safety walking around the plaza, as in 15 years there had been at least 10 incidents where runaway cars have collided with shops in the plaza, toilets or jumped the gutter, putting pedestrians in danger.
According to a long-term tenant of the plaza, the florist has been run into twice by cars, the bottle shop twice (within six weeks in April and May 2007), Wal Murray First National Real Estate has had two cars jump the gutter, one going inside the business and the other shattering all the glass at the front of the business in August last year, the side of Ruby Red's former shop in the plaza was hit by a car and another car went through the back of the toilets at the plaza.
The tenant said last week's incident, where 84-year-old Alstonville resident Betty Parrish was badly injured after being hit by a Ford Falcon and pinned under the vehicle for about an hour, was the worst.
The tenant said it was only a matter of time until someone got killed by an out-of-control car.
"I hope it doesn't take somebody to get killed before management do something to improve safety," the tenant said.
"I'd hope management don't want that on their conscience."
Alstonville Plaza manager Richard Campbell declined to be interviewed to discuss parking at the plaza.
Ballina Mayor David Wright said he believed the car parking at the plaza was legally compliant, but he would be asking council staff this week to confirm that.