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Redland City Council is partnering with Surf Life Saving Queensland to launch a pilot program that will make a popular Redlands Coast beach more accessible to wheelchair users.
Mayor Karen Williams said the Accessible Beach Program would be offered for free at Wellington Point Recreation Reserve.
“Council is committed to fostering and enhancing inclusivity within our community to ensure people of all abilities can participate and have access to the necessary services and facilities,” Cr Williams said.
“This is in line with one of the objectives in our Corporate Plan as we strive to build strong and resilient communities.
“The Accessible Beach Program represents a significant step forward in reducing barriers to beach access and empowering people with disabilities to enjoy one of life’s most cherished social pleasures with the community.”
As part of the program, Surf Life Saving Queensland will set up a specialised beach mat and beach chair, which must be booked in advance. Carers are responsible for users at all times during the session, both in and out of the water.
Division 1 Councillor Wendy Boglary said it was fitting the initiative was piloted at the reserve as it offered other amenities such as accessible parking spaces, an accessible toilet, accessible beach shower and a pathway leading to the beach.
“This innovative program offers essential features, including beach matting and a specialised beach wheelchair, that will ensure wheelchair users can enjoy the stunning shoreline at Wellington Point Recreation Reserve,” Cr Boglary said.
“Surf Life Saving Queensland will play a crucial role in delivering this service during the upcoming lifesaving season.
“This means users can benefit from the program at various times throughout the year, including the school holiday periods at Christmas, Easter and in September.”Heather Coombes enters the water in a specialised beach chair at Wellington Point Recreation Reserve.
Surf Life Saving Queensland Head of Lifeguard Operations Calan Lovitt said Surf Life Saving Queensland was looking forward to working with Redland City Council to deliver accessibility to all beach visitors at Wellington Point Recreation Reserve.
“The provision of beach matting and a beach wheelchair will enable those who previously couldn’t enjoy the beach, to safely enjoy the beach and access the water,” Mr Lovitt said.
Cr Williams said Council was also committed to fostering accessible tourism, aligning with the Queensland Government’s Year of Accessible Tourism in 2023.
“The Accessible Beach Program is part of a broader plan by Council to create an inclusive and welcoming environment for all residents and visitors, encompassing accommodation, beach access, pathways and digital communications,” she said.
More information on the Accessible Beach Program, including how to book, is available on Council’s website at redland.qld.gov.au/accessiblebeach. Times and availability are subject to change due to tide times and weather.