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Improved accessibility means more people can enjoy Sunshine Coast’s beaches

September 13, 2019 Destination Global No Comments Email Email

More people will be able to enjoy the Sunshine Coast’s world-class coastline thanks to the roll-out of accessible matting and beach wheelchairs at three popular Sunshine Coast beaches.

Accessible matting, which makes it easier for people with disabilities, parents with prams and seniors to navigate to the firm sand, is now being provided at Kings, Coolum and Mooloolaba beaches, as a result of a Sunshine Coast Council initiative to improve beach accessibility for people of all abilities.

Beach wheelchairs will also be available at all three locations.

This follows the successful roll out of accessible matting and the introduction of a beach wheelchair at Alexandra Headland two years ago.

The matting and wheelchairs will be available during patrolled hours on weekends from September through until May and will be managed by volunteer lifeguards from the Metropolitan-Caloundra Surf Lifesaving Club (SLSC), Coolum Beach SLSC, Alexandra Headland SLSC and Mooloolaba SLSC.

Sunshine Coast Access Advisory Network (SCAAN) member and Mooloolaba resident Jo Ellsum tested out the new facilities and said that the initiative would allow mobility-restricted residents and visitors alike to fully enjoy the beach.

“Because I am in a wheelchair, my difficulty is getting across the sand into the water,” Mrs Ellsum said.

At the moment, my husband carries me from the wheelchair across the sand and into the ocean, but this initiative will go a long way towards addressing accessibility issues on our beaches.”

Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson said Council has allocated $50,000 towards this project, which includes ongoing maintenance of the accessible matting and wheelchairs and modifications to existing ramps at all four beaches.

“Everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy our world-class beaches and with an estimated 20 per cent of Australian adults experiencing a disability or long-term health condition, initiatives like this are essential to ensure more people of all abilities experience the joy of visiting our beaches,’’ Mayor Jamieson said.

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