Community Hub lift “beyond repair”

Community Hub lift “beyond repair”
Sean Car

Despite issues with its service being raised by locals for more than two years, the City of Melbourne has confirmed that the lift at The Community Hub in Docklands is officially “beyond repair”.

Having first contacted the council in 2019, Melbourne Sunrise Probus Club member Jenny Eltham, whose club members depend on accessing the facility for its regular meetings, said the lift consistently failed and had even resulted in some users becoming stuck.

Apart from disabled and elderly people, the lift at The Hub is often used by young mothers and their babies for accessing infant health services and Mrs Eltham said some had become stuck “on a number of occasions” due to ongoing faults.

“The lift is again not operational, hasn’t been for a number of weeks and will not be for many more weeks,” Mrs Eltham wrote in an email to Lord Mayor Sally Capp in March.

“Apart from the disabled and the elderly, the lift is used, at The Hub, for young mothers and babies accessing Infant Health Services.”

“It is dangerous for these women to be carrying their infants up and down the stairs, often with toddlers in tow. The risk of a fall is high and could possibly have catastrophic results.”

“I understand that on a number of occasions, mothers and babies have been stuck in the lift. Again, this is totally unacceptable.”

While having been assured that the lift was “serviceable” and available for use in April, the council committed to an independent report to identify options for ensuring the lift’s reliability was improved.

But Mrs Eltham was forced to raise the issue with the Lord Mayor again last month, with the lift still “inoperable”.

“What does the community need to do to have this lift operational?” she asked the Lord Mayor.

“The ongoing issue of the lift failure is absolutely unacceptable and one that should have been addressed years ago.”

“If this lift was located in the Town Hall or Council House 2, it would be repaired in a timely and safe manner.”

But a City of Melbourne spokesperson last month confirmed to Docklands News that due to unexpected high visitor numbers, the lift had not been able to cope with demand and was now “beyond repair”.

“Due to unexpected visitor numbers to the popular Community Hub in Docklands, the lift infrastructure has not been able to cope with demand,” the spokesperson said.

“The lift is beyond repair and will be replaced as soon as possible. An independent consultant will confirm the most suitable option.”

“We recognise that this has caused access issues for people with limited mobility and apologise for the inconvenience. We are working to find suitable alternative venues in the meantime, and will also provide telehealth services where required.”

But Mrs Eltham dismissed the council’s claims that the lift was over used.

“That lift is not over used,” she said. “Lifts run for eons with little maintenance, servicing a high demand.”

“The community needs that space and anyone with mobility issues is disadvantaged.” •

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