While heading to the beach in the summertime is a way of life for many Coasties, for residents and visitors who are older and less mobile or who live with a disability, a trip to the beach can be challenging.
As part of Council’s Disability Inclusion Action Plan (2017-2021), Council is committed to ensuring people with disabilities are fully included and participate in all aspects of community life. A key part of that is improving access to and enjoyment of public spaces and places, including the Coast’s beautiful beaches.
Following significant feedback from the community and guidance from Council’s Access and Inclusion Reference Group, ‘improving beach access for people with disabilities and reduced mobility’ was highlighted a major priority under Council’s Disability Inclusion Action Plan.
In response to this, Council conducted an audit of all patrolled beaches on the Central Coast in 2018 to identify opportunities to improve access. This led to the roll-out of a pilot program for accessible beach matting to be trialled at selected beaches across the Coast in the summer of 2019/20.
Following a successful pilot program, this summer has seen Council reinstall beach matting on three of the Coast’s most popular beaches – Toowoon Bay, Umina Beach and Ocean Beach. The matting will remain a permanent fixture at these beaches throughout the summer patrol season, giving people with a disability and limited mobility an opportunity to safely access and enjoy the beach using a wheelchair or walking aid.
Pictured: Beach matting at Toowoon Bay, Ocean Beach and Umina Beach on the Central Coast.
Council also has a range of beach wheelchairs available on request at patrolled beaches and has erected signage on Surf Club buildings promoting their availability. To secure a beach wheelchair, go to Beach wheelchair booking form.
Other Central Coast patrolled beaches are currently being considered for beach matting. The use of beach matting is subject to public safety and beach gradient that is affected by sand erosion and tidal activity.
Learn more about how Council is working to create a more accessible and inclusive Central Coast under the Disability Inclusion Action Plan.