Flushing Away Inaccessibility

11 Mar 2020

Shoppers in Auckland advocated for change and we got it!

Cerebral Palsy Society Youth and Pacific Coordinator Jordon Milroy, publicly called for change when he became aware that Sylvia Park mall’s accessibility toilets unlocked automatically after five minutes.

“It doesn’t seem right that a person with a disability only gets five minutes to do their business and clean up themselves,” he said.

“The personal experience of trying to manage this function in a countdown situation leaves the fear of the door automatically opening in front of New Zealand’s biggest shopping mall, or feeling less than human by not having the time to clean up myself.”

Accessibility advocate Kylee Black joined the collective outcry by saying able-bodied bathrooms don’t have time limits and neither do parent rooms.

“I’ve had the door open on me before because of the automatic lock, I’ve also opened the door on someone using the toilet. I’ve also been stuck in the toilet because the automatic lock was jammed. It’s just not okay,” Black said.

As a result of the complaint, the time limit has been increased to 15 minutes.

“Speaking out was important to highlight the situational awareness of the time in the bathroom. Non-disabled people do not realise or tend to forget how long it can take to conduct yourself in the bathroom if you have an impairment,” Milroy said.

“Social change starts with the responsibility from disabled persons themselves, so to use my platform social media-wise and a sense of humour got the message across in a prompt manner.

“The outcome of 15 minutes was a great starting point, yet as a modern society common sense should prevail and the timer shouldn’t be on the toilet in the first place. To constantly complain makes one feel cynical and sometimes negative towards the way society restricts people with Cerebral Palsy.”