PEOPLE with limited mobility unable to access the beach can now book online to feel the sand between their toes and saltwater on their legs in the City of Wanneroo.
From this week community members can use the City’s website to book the Beach Trekker wheelchair for people with physical disabilities free-of-charge along the Quinns Rocks coastline.
Made by Bassendean-based company TADWA, the $6000 chair can be booked through the City and accessed from the Quinns Mindarie Surf Life Saving Club (SLSC).
Wanneroo Mayor Tracey Roberts launched the booking service by taking Rocky Bay client Sonay Arif down to the beach for a ride in the trekker.
Mrs Roberts said Ms Arif was delighted by the experience and that the chair offered people with disabilities the opportunity to experience something new.
“It opens up a whole new world for people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to access the beach,” she said.
“Sonay really enjoyed it, her face lit up and she was loving it, smiling and giggling.
“It’s all about inclusion and giving people with disabilities the opportunity to immerse themselves in an experience they may not have been able to have before.”
To make accessing the beach easier, the City also installed mesh matting leading down to the shoreline.
Mrs Roberts managed to wheel the 24-year-old Clarkson resident on the sand herself but said she recommended having two people to ensure the chair could be easily wheeled out of the water.
She said the City would continue to work with the Access and Disability Reference Group, including Rocky Bay and Kira Community Services, to ensure the use of the chair was made as seamless and easy as possible.
Rocky Bay Duncraig team leader Abby McLennan said it was an “exciting” addition for inclusion within the community and that it would be a great option for carers to use with clients.
“It would be good to see a portable hoist near the beach ramp to help change and transfer clients to the chair to make it easier for carers,” she said.
“Sonay is able to self transfer to the chair with help but for clients who aren’t able to, the hoist would help.”
Kira Community Services state finance manager Helen Berry said the Greenwood organisation had about 76 clients from 15 years old to 66, with some never having experienced the beach before.
She said as long as the booking process through the SLSC ran smoothly and the life savers were aware of the bookings, then it would be a success.
Depending on community demand, Mrs Roberts said the City would assess whether more Beach Trekkers needed to be purchased.
Quinns Mindarie SLSC director of youth Saxon France championed the initiative and said it was all about attracting people to the beach.
“The beach is a public amenity that should be used and accessed by all community members,” he said.
“This chair allows that.”
The trekker can be booked by filling out a form at wanneroo.wa.gov.au/BeachTrekkerBooking and used during patrolled beach times.