Wagga City Council’s move to increase mobility-impaired access to its waterways has been welcomed by disability advocates.
Wagga’s Thara Pech, who is legally blind, said a report to councillors offered some good options and a staring point for more works.
“It would be socially more inclusive, and that’s very important, and people need to be more aware of people with disabilities around them,” she said.
One of the plans to be suggested to councillors during Monday’ night;s meeting would be to install traction matting to allow sand-going wheelchairs to approach the water’s edge at Wagga Beach.
“I think it would encourage people with disabilities to get involved in more recreation on the beach, I think that would be great,” Ms Pech said.
The report to councillors estimated that the matting would cost $7500 a beach wheelchair would cost $4500.
“It is proposed that these items and the operational processes for their use be funded as a part of the Riverside Stage 2 project,” the report stated.
Ms Pech said that despite the city’s progress towards opening up its streets and parks to those with a disability, some hurdles remain for those with a vision or mobility impairment.
One of the biggest potential items suggested in the report a $450,000 boardwalk at Wollundry Lagoon to complete the walkway between Simmons and Trail streets.
Another large item put forward was a ‘wheelchair friendly fishing platform’ at the southern end of Wagga Beach, which could cost more than $140,000.
Ms Pech said she was not sure how many people in the area would make use of such a platform.
“There are other things that they might do, such as improve walkways everywhere and not just at the river,” she said.
“Adding tactile barriers to existing paths and jetties would also help people with a vision impairment.”
The report also proposed to replicate the new adult change facility at Bolton Park for the Riverside Stage 2 development and improving sailing jetty access at Lake Albert.
Riverina Disability Advocacy Service executive officer Martin Butcher said Wagga “had a good disability inclusion plan” and the council now needed to look at how it could provide disability access to as many areas as possible.
“If you’re in a wheelchair or have mobility issues, you need good access to pathways to allow people to get in and around parks,” he said.
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