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New beach wheelchairs for Bunbury

Friday, 26 February 2010

Enjoying a dip in the ocean is set to become a more accessible activity for people with disabilities thanks to new beach wheelchairs available for use at popular Bunbury swimming spots.

Unveiled today by Bunbury MLA John Castrilli, the specially-designed wheelchairs can be maneuvered over sand into water, making cooling off at the beach a reality for people with mobility issues.

Mr Castrilli said he was delighted with the new wheelchairs which would give people with disabilities access to Bunbury's beautiful beaches.

"These wheelchairs are a fantastic addition to facilities in our community, and will give both local residents and visitors the chance to experience the joy and relaxation of spending time at the beach," he said.

"In addition to the recent opening of a holiday home in Bunbury for people with disabilities, the new wheelchairs will help make our local attractions more accessible to everyone."

"They are a wonderful asset to our community and my congratulations go to everyone involved in getting these state-of-the-art beach wheelchairs to Bunbury."

South West Development Commission acting chief executive officer Graeme Baesjou said the Commission had put $10,000 towards the project, which had been supported by Enable Southwest, City of Bunbury, South West Community Fundraisers, Disability Services Commission, Rotary's Sail into Life program and Koombana Bay Sailing Club.

"This project is part of the Commission's efforts to improve quality of life for the region's residents," he said.

"An outing to the beach on a warm day is something that can be taken for granted, but for people with mobility issues it can be difficult to move over the sand to get to the water.

"These beach wheelchairs − designed to be used with the assistance of a carer - can travel over paved or grassed areas, across soft loose beach sand and directly into the water.

"Beach wheelchair users can enter the water and transfer out, or simply enjoy the experience of sitting in the wheelchair and being in the ocean.

"This project has been a real community effort and it's thanks to the groups involved that it has been made possible.

"The Commission has provided funding towards two wheelchairs and South West Community Fundraisers will be purchasing a third chair.

"The City of Bunbury and Rotary have carried out improvements to the Koombana Bay Sailing Club, which is where the equipment will be stored.

"Enable Southwest has put its hands up to manage bookings."

A special mention must be made of local woman Carolyn Simpson and former South West Development Commission board member Margaret Smith who have both lobbied for beach wheelchairs to be made available in Bunbury, and Technology Assisting Disability WA (TADWA) which made the wheelchairs.

The beach wheelchairs are for use at Koombana Bay and Jetty Baths but requests to use them at other locations will be considered by Enable Southwest.

To make a booking, phone Enable Southwest on 9792 7500 during office hours on weekdays or visit the office at 42 Forrest Avenue, Bunbury.

The beach wheelchairs are free to use and are available for hire seven days a week.

…ENDS

Media contact:
Teneille Watson
Community Relations Officer
M: 0417 961 051

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Bunbury's new Beach Trekker wheelchairs

Bunbury MLA John Castrilli, pictured with Graeme Dargie from TADWA, officially launched Bunbury's new Beach Trekker wheelchairs at the Koombana Bay Sailing Club on Friday February 26.