Council delivers first Changing Places facility for people with high support needs

The Region’s first accredited Changing Places facility has opened in Queens Park, enabling people with high-support needs to enjoy the day-to-day activities many community members take for granted.

The specialised 24/7 facility will ensure people who can’t use a standard accessible toilet have the facilities they need to enjoy Toowoomba’s flagship park, includingthe Region’s largest and best equipped all-ability playground.

Delivered as part of the new Vera Lacaze Memorial Park amenities block on Margaret Street, the Changing Places room is the first of its kind west of Brisbane.

Toowoomba Regional Council (TRC) Environment and Community Portfolio Leader, Councillor Tim McMahon said the facility is designed especially for people with complex disabilities and their carers.

“Our Region celebrates diversity and inclusion, and Council is always looking for ways to update our community facilities to improve People with Disability (PWD) access, ensuring all community members have the same opportunities and can participate fully in our community with dignity,” Cr McMahon said.

“The Vera Lacaze amenities were designed to better align with current Australian PWD standards and provide improved accessibility for the south-west corner of Queens Park.”

The new building includes eight female, three male and three unisex toilets, ambulant toilets, a PWD cubicle and the accredited Changing Places room. The room is fitted with an electric hoist, adult change table, accessible shower, privacy screen, large access door and a peninsular toilet.

“Gardens and landscaping were completed adjacent to the new Vera Lacaze amenities as part of the project. Security improvements including new lights and City Safe security services were also installed,” Cr McMahon said.

Construction commenced in March 2021 and was completed in August.

The Vera Lacaze Amenities project cost $1.1 million with the Changing Places room costing $250,000. The new amenities are the latest instalment of the $12 million Queens Park Revitalisation project, which is jointly funded by the Queensland Government’s Building our Regions program and Toowoomba Regional Council.

The Changing Places facility has been formally assessed and approved for registration on a national database. This accreditation process ensures Changing Places are built to standard and fit for purpose.

Access to the facility is provided via a Master Locksmiths Access Key (MLAK) for carers, assistants and support workers to effectively plan outings, excursions and activities. MLAKs can be obtained by contacting Council.

Additional landscaping and pathway connection upgrades to Vera Lacaze Park (within Queens Park) are set to commence in February 2022. While works to install new footpath and lighting, to connect the new Vera Lacaze Amenities block to Godsall Street, through Queens Park is set to commence construction in January 2022.

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