The City of Fremantle’s efforts to make it easier for people with disabilities to enjoy a day at the beach have been recognised at the Most Accessible Community of WA awards.
The City received a commendation for the Leighton Beach Access Project, which involved improving the accessibility of the beach by installing beach matting and providing free hire of beach wheelchairs and walkers.
City of Fremantle Community Development Director Michelle Brennand said the project had made it much easier for everyone to enjoy the delights of the ocean.
“Leighton Beach already had existing accessible toilets and change room facilities, a clear path of travel from ACROD parking bays and accessible paths to the change rooms and café, but there was nothing to help people make that last step to get to the beach and swim in the ocean,” Ms Brennand said.
“Last summer we were able to use a $50,000 grant from the federal government’s Department of Social Services to install 60 metres of beach access matting to make it easier for people to get through the dunes and down onto the beach.
“We also purchased new beach wheelchairs and walkers, Gecko Traxx (portable wheelchair accessories to enable off-road access), built a storage unit and purchased a sensory tent to provide a quiet breakout space for people with sensory challenges during events.
“We are very grateful for the support from the surf club, the Disabled Surfers Association of WA and Leighton Beach residents, and especially from the Orange Box café who agreed to look after the key to wheelchair storage unit for us.
“We had great feedback about the project last summer, and hopefully this year it will encourage even more people with disability to enjoy our beautiful beaches.”
The City of Fremantle also has beach wheelchairs available for free hire at South Beach and Bathers Beach.
For more information, go to fremantle.wa.gov.au/beach-wheelchairs.