Two Melbourne beaches are more accessible than ever after wheelchair-friendly devices were launched to help disabled people.
Port Phillip Council showcased the result of their $65,000 initiative Saturday, hosting events at St Kilda and Port Melbourne beaches.
The new equipment includes special matting, as well as ‘floating’ wheelchairs and will be free for people to use.
Victoria’s St Kilda and Port Melbourne beaches are more accessible than ever after water wheelchairs and special matting were launched on Saturday
‘Everyone should be able to enjoy our beautiful beaches,’ Mayor Bernadene Voss said.
‘As our Council is always trying to improve inclusion and accessibility, we wanted people with disabilities to have the same opportunity to explore and experience Port Phillip beaches.’
The launch was supported by the local community, including the St Kilda and Port Melbourne Surf Life Saving Clubs, who will roll the matting out during patrol hours.
Councillor Voss said it was a bittersweet day though, as 10-year-old Astrid, who had helped promote the chairs had passed away recently.
The new equipment forms part of a $65,000 initiative from Port Phillip Council and includes special matting (pictured) which will be laid out to allow the chairs to travel down to the ocean
The launch was supported by the local community, including the St Kilda and Port Melbourne Surf Life Saving Clubs, who will roll the matting out during patrol hours
‘Astrid was looking forward to splashing about surrounded by water at the beach. This day is for her and all the other ‘Astrids’ who want to enjoy a fun day at the beach,’ Cr Voss said.
Federal Disability Discrimination Commissioner Alastair McEwin said going to the beach was something many people took for granted and that it was a difficult task for people with disabilities.
‘I am delighted to see Port Phillip Council demonstrate an understanding of the need to be inclusive and provide access to their beaches,’ he said.
Among those who enjoyed the new devices was St Kilda double amputee Amanda Lawrie-Jones (pictured) who enjoyed her first splash in the ocean in 11 years
‘This means people with disability can now enjoy a day at their beaches just like anyone else.’
Among those who enjoyed the new devices was St Kilda double amputee Amanda Lawrie-Jones, who enjoyed her first splash in the ocean in 11 years.
Not one to let the cold weather or wind put her off, Ms Lawrie-Jones was helped into the water on a floating wheelchair by St Kilda Lifesaving Club captain Simon Lewis.
‘It feels amazing. It brought back so many memories of being a kid,’ she told The Age.