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Ramps and sand-matting to improve disabled access to northern beaches

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Austinmer Beach will be prioritised under a strategy to improve disabled access. Photo: Google Streetview.

COMMUNITY comment is sought on a draft Beach and Foreshore Strategy that sets out how to provide easier access for people with disability to our beaches.

As part of the draft Strategy, Wollongong City Council has recommended that it prioritise enhancing disability access at Austinmer, Thirroul, North Wollongong and Port Kembla beaches.

Under the recommendations, ramps and beach matting, which sits on top of the sand, will enable people with disability better access to the surf.

Wollongong Acting Lord Mayor David Brown said the Council has been working with the community for some time to improve accessibility.

“While we provide many services and infrastructure that all people can enjoy, such as shared pathways, play spaces, pools and walking tracks around foreshore areas, the beaches themselves have proven challenging,” Cr Brown said.

“This draft strategy sets out ways we can overcome this including trailing the access matting. During consultation people have said they wanted to enjoy the sand and surf and that being in a wheelchair or dependent on a mobility device was a hindrance to access the beach.

“We believe by offering these opportunities at four popular beaches we will be better able to plan for improved access for all to our beaches.”

The strategy will provide a planned approach on ways Council can support people with disability to access our beaches and foreshore areas. This includes people with prams and people with limited mobility.

The draft Beach and Foreshore Access Strategy 2019 – 2028 is now available on Council’s website  for comment until March 19.

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About Mick Roberts

A Sydney journalist, writer and historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of pubs, inns and associated industries in Australia for over 30 years. He is currently working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides writing a number of history books, Mick has owned and managed several community newspapers. He was one time editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limited), Sydney based, City News, and Torch Publications based in Canterbury Bankstown, NSW. He currently calls the inner-Sydney suburb of Surry Hills home.

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