Better beach access with mobility mats

Published: 1 December 2022

Eurobodalla’s beaches will soon be accessible to even more people thanks to new wheelchair-friendly mobility mats.

Rolled out across the sand like a long, heavy-duty carpet and providing a stable surface for people using mobility aids, the mats will be available at seven of the shire’s patrolled beaches this summer: Surf Beach, Malua Bay, South Broulee, Moruya South Head, Tuross Main, Dalmeny, and Narooma Surf Beach.

Eurobodalla Council successfully secured funding for the mats from the NSW Government in a partnership with local lifeguards and lobby group Accessible Beaches Australia.

Council’s director of community, arts and recreation Kathy Arthur said the mobility mats will allow people of all abilities to safely enjoy Eurobodalla’s beautiful beaches.

“Mobility mats create a nice stable surface for people using wheelchairs, scooters or walkers, but also for elderly people, those with vision impairment, even parents with strollers,” she said.

“The mats are a big hit in beach communities around the country, making a quintessential Australian day out possible for even more people. It’s a great result for our residents and our visitors.”

The mats are made entirely from recycled plastics and measure 1.5 metres wide and can be up to 50 metres long. Lifeguards will roll them out for summer patrols and pack them up ahead of storms or large seas to avoid damage.

Ms Arthur said encouraging visits to patrolled beaches means beachgoers have access to other facilities like toilets and beach wheelchairs.

“Some wheelchair users might still need assistance at beach access points where natural land formations make for a steeper path,” she said.

“We also know some of the locations are not yet fully accessible in terms of parking and toilets, but these mobility mats are a wonderful start to making our beaches places for people of all abilities.”

Work will get underway from Monday to build new lead-in paths at South Broulee, Malua Bay and Narooma Surf Beach to accommodate the mobility mats. Workers will move between the three sites over the next fortnight, and beachgoers are asked to use alternative beach access during that time.

This project was made possible thanks to $495,000 from Round One of the NSW Government’s Regional Tourism Activation Fund and partnership with Accessible Beaches Australia and local lifeguards.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW Paul Toole said the Regional Tourism Activation Fund is helping establish unique tourism experiences that attract visitors and showcase the outstanding assets our regions have to offer.

“Projects backed through the Regional Tourism Activation Fund will give domestic and international visitors more great reasons and options to holiday away from the city,” Mr Toole said.

“We are ensuring everyone has the opportunity to experience our regional communities, with funding to support accessibility improvements just like these wheelchair-friendly mobility mats.”

Accessible Beaches’ beach directory shows mobility mat locations around Australia.

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