New beach wheelchair for disabled
DISABLED ocean lovers will have greater access to Brunswick Heads beaches following the purchase of a new “four-wheel-drive” beach wheelchair.
The $4000 chair was bought by the Disabled Surfers Association with assistance from The Northern Rivers Community Foundation and Byron Shire Council.
Owen Danvers, who gave the chair a test run at Torakina Beach yesterday, said it was a huge bonus for Brunswick Heads’ disabled residents and visitors.
“For a lot of people, just to be able to get their feet wet is an experience, especially for those who’ve never been on the beach before.”
The all-terrain chair can be used on the beach and in the water.
Ted Kabbout, of the Disabled Surfers Association, said one of the catalysts behind the wheelchair were conversations he had with an old surfer, who couldn’t get around much any more because of injuries.
“He was always wanting to get on the beach, but you just can’t do that unless we provide something like this.”
Mr Kabbout said the chair could also be used by the elderly.
“With the ageing population, there are a lot of people who haven’t been down to the beach for a long time who can now think about getting there again.”
Mr Kabbout said the purchase of the chair was the first step in a push to make Brunswick Heads beaches more accessible.
In the long term, he would like to see accessibility ramps built at various locations on the river and beaches.
“Brunswick Heads is such a good location for these things to be in place. It’s the perfect fit. It doesn’t cost a huge amount, we just need the will,” Mr Kabbout said.
The Brunswick Heads beach wheelchair is one of several now available in the region.