- Whittlesea Mayor Kris Pavlidis slammed for parking in disabled spot at Mill Park Library event
- By Paul Shapiro
- Whittlesea Leader
- Contributed by: Pina ( 10 articles in 2017 )
Whittlesea Mayor Kris Pavlidis’ car parked in a disabled parking spot in Mill Park.
NEW Whittlesea Mayor Kris Pavlidis has come under fire for parking in a designated handicap spot while attending the launch of a new cafe for people with intellectual disabilities.
The mayor’s black Holden Calais was snapped in the designated space while she was inside Mill Park Library for the grand opening of Chancez Café last Friday.
The new cafe offers employment and training to people with an intellectual disability.
It’s understood Cr Pavlidis was directed to park in the spot by Yarra Plenty Regional Library staff that were managing traffic for the duration of the event.
Mill Park Library Branch Manager Serena Bellotti made the decision to designate the space for a “VIP” rather than keep it available for people with disabilities.
“Parking was prioritised for people with disabilities and speakers and the mayor was directed to park in a disabled car space,” she said.
“Other disabled car park spots were also available and YPRL staff was there to ensure the mayor’s car could be moved if it needed to be.”
YPRL spokeswoman Marieclaire Baird said there were other parking spaces not designated for people with disabilities set aside for the event but none were reserved for the mayor.
She also said there was no back-up spotM for Cr Pavlidis if her car had to be moved.
“We would’ve had to move her car far away if we had to move her but we didn’t have to after all,” she said.
Ms Baird, responding to a question asking why it wouldn’t have been easier to allocate Cr Pavlidis a non-designated spot, said it was predetermined Cr Pavlidis, as a “VIP”, would be allowed to park in the handicap spot.
“Because of the nature of the event it was predetermined the mayor would be allowed to park in the spot normally designated for people with disabilities,” Ms Baird said.
However, Disability Justice Advocacy Executive Officer Trevor Carroll slammed both the YPRL and Cr Pavlidis calling the situation “utterly disappointing”.
“I don’t buy it, they’re in damage control, how could anyone place the mayor higher in importance to someone with a disability,” Mr Carroll said.
“If it is true, then what the YPRL has done is illegal as only people with permits are allowed to park in handicap spots.
“The mayor has no excuse she should’ve refused to park there and if there wasn’t anywhere else to park then someone should’ve dropped her at the front and moved her car immediately.
“It’s not a good look for someone in her position who also claims to be an advocate for social justice, she should know better.
“The Whittlesea Council aims to educate the community on which spots are for people with disabilities so to have a mayor park in the wrong spot, for whatever reason, sends a mixed message to the community.”
Cr Pavlidis confirmed she had been directed to park in the disabled space.
“I am very committed to supporting the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act and actively work to ensure that people with disabilities are given the support and opportunities they deserve,” Cr Pavlidis said.
“The launch of Chancez café at Mill Park Library was a wonderful event with the café offering life changing opportunities for people with an intellectual disability who want to work independently in the future.” [as long as they don't need to park in a disabled spot at the front of the library?]
During her maiden speech as mayor delivered earlier this month, Cr Pavlidis highlighted the need to ensure people with disabilities were given equal opportunity in the community.
Cr Pavlidis is also listed as being an “advocate for social justice” on the Whittlesea Council website.