Wally Tew Reserve in Ferntree Gully is home to Knox’s first Changing Places toilet facility, purpose-built to support people with severe and profound disabilities.
Changing Places are toilets with full-sized, height adjustable change tables and hoists, with design requirements that go beyond those for standard accessible toilets.
Completed last week, the Changing Places toilet at Wally Tew Reserve will support the inclusion of community members with severe disabilities who wish to participate in events and activities at the reserve and surrounding recreation precinct, including the Ferntree Gully Library, the Ferntree Gully Community Arts Centre, sporting reserves and the nearby accessible playground.
There are plans to establish more Changing Places toilets in Knox in the future.
The facility is jointly funded by the Victorian Government ($100,000) and the balance from Knox City Council ($80,000).
The Changing Places initiative began in the UK in 2006 and was introduced in Australia in 2012. There are currently 89 facilities at major public spaces across Australia, including the MCG, Melbourne Zoo and Hamer Hall.
As stated by Mayor, Cr Jake Keogh:
Installing this facility is an important step towards ensuring that our public spaces are as inclusive as possible for all members of our community – including those with severe disabilities.
Wally Tew Reserve was chosen as the site for the first Changing Places toilet, given it is the location of two of our City’s major festivals – Carols by Candlelight and the Knox Festival, as well as a busy sporting, entertainment and cultural space for the Knox community.
As stated by Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers, Luke Donnellan:
This fantastic new facility makes Ferntree Gully and the surrounding community more accessible for everyone.
We are absolutely committed to inclusion for all Victorians, and Changing Places is a key part of making this happen.
As stated by Member for Eastern Metropolitan Region, Shaun Leane
Changing Places plays an essential role in positive, social inclusion and encouraging the participation of people with a disability – we are working to reduce accessibility barriers for all members of our community.