Disability advocate says Scarborough changeroom facility not inclusive

Brooke Franklin (Osborne Park) with partner Martin Doherty and Stirling Mayor Mark Irwin.
Brooke Franklin (Osborne Park) with partner Martin Doherty and Stirling Mayor Mark Irwin.

A $150,000 facility for people with profound disabilities has opened at Scarborough Beach but a disability advocate says vital aspects are unsuitable.

The City of Stirling and Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority (MRA) created the Changing Places facility, a State Government initiative, as part of the Scarborough foreshore redevelopment.

Osborne Park resident Brooke Franklin, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, toured the changeroom but was disappointed to discover several deficiencies.

“I really, really love it but for people like me in a wheelchair it’s not going to work,” she said.

Ms Franklin’s concerns included the position of the duress (panic) button “considerably out of reach” from the toilet, lack of duress button in the shower, positioning of controllers for the hoist and changing table, and lack of ventilation.

“Even someone with a long reach would still need to stand up and take a few steps to press the (toilet duress) button,” she said.

“I know that some of these may seem trivial but they can also be very large issues, especially if they are wanting to be more independent.”

Ms Franklin acknowledged the City was responsive to her suggestions but was concerned the facility did not encourage independence.

This photo shows the distance between the toilet and the duress button.








A MRA spokeswoman said it consulted the City’s disability access team throughout the redevelopment project and the design was standard and set by the Changing Places advocacy group.

The facility includes a toilet and showering facilities, hoist, adult changing table and automatic door which can be accessed any time via a master key.

A City spokeswoman said the design was based on the Australian Changing Places information guide and complied with technical standards. It was intended for people with profound disabilities to use with a carer.

Stirling Mayor Mark Irwin said Ms Franklin provided valuable feedback on changes that would enable people to use it independently.

“The City has taken on board this feedback and we are working with consultants, staff and the City’s Access and Inclusion Advisory Group to consider how it can be incorporated,” he said.

“The overwhelming feedback at the opening and since has been extremely positive.”

The MRA has built Changing Places facilities at Perth’s Yagan Square and Elizabeth Quay and 18 are being built by local governments across Perth and regional WA.