In Kilbirnie, one of the few flat parts of Wellington, there’s the Rita Angus Retirement Village. It’s quite attractive and has an appealing brick wall around it, with pleasing iron gates at intervals for foot traffic.
The Rita Angus Retirement Village opened in March 2001. The site is located in Coutts Street, close to the main shopping area of Kilbirnie. The village has been designed in a “terraced housing” style in keeping with the historic nature of the buildings in the area. Rita Angus was a well-known and highly respected Wellington artist.
But it was only yesterday, while driving past, that I realised those gates are relatively narrow and above a small step of two or three inches. I realised this because as I drove I saw an elderly person, with a walking frame, trying to manoeuvre her way through the gate.
It seems reasonable to assume that anyone who uses a walking frame needs support and is a bit unsteady on their legs. This person was trying to hold open the gate and work the walking frame up, over the step, and through the gate, all while keeping herself upright.
It seems to me that the design could have been a whole lot better: a wider gate and a small ramp, rather than a step, may have made all the difference for that resident.