Gold Coast trials beach wheelchair mat on city surf beach

Image: Beach Access City of Gold Coast, Jagger with mum Rachel Collien (behind) and Divisional Councillor Pauline Young and Mayor Tom Tate

Mayor Tom Tate today rolled out the first beach wheelchair mat in the city on a surf beach - promising a new era of accessibility for all.

To be trialled on Burleigh Beach on Saturday mornings, the beach mats allow wheelchairs to easily maneuver across sand.

The beach mat and two new beach wheelchairs, which are specially designed for beach use, have been donated by the City of Gold Coast as part of a $33,670 trial to run from September 2016 to May 2017.

Mayor Tate said the City was committed to ensuring everyone enjoyed a beach experience.

“The community asked for better access to our beaches and we listened,’’ he said.

“If this trial is successful, we will look to provide beach access equipment at other locations.’’

The City will also donate two new beach wheelchairs to not-for-profit group Gold Coast Recreation and Sport Incorporated, for city-wide use at no charge.

“When we host the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games™ in less than two years’ time, we are also hosting the largest para-sport program ever held at a Commonwealth Games,” said Mayor Tate.

“There has never been a more important time to ensure our city is accessible for all.’’

The Burleigh Heads Mowbray Park Surf Lifesaving Club will manage the trial, with equipment available on Saturdays from 9am to midday.

Burleigh Heads Mowbray Park Surf Lifesaving Club president Michael Boyce said his club was ready.

“Burleigh is a great location because of the easy connection between the surf club, carpark and amenities. Our patrol members will advise the public if the weather and surf conditions are suitable for the equipment on the day,” he said.

The beach wheelchair matting and beach wheelchairs join the Gold Coast’s growing number of accessible options, including viewing platforms along the Oceanway and permanent beach matting at Southport’s Broadwater Parklands.

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