2023 ‘Regional Growth’ Category Honourable Mention

Eurobodalla Shire Council, NSW

Beach Accessibility Improvements

Beach accessibility improvements. Photo credit: Eurobodalla Shire Council, NSW

The Initiative

Eurobodalla’s beaches are a key attraction for residents and visitors to the region. This project was developed in response to requests Eurobodalla Shire Council received from the community on the importance of providing improved beach access for everyone. As Eurobodalla Shire consists of 83 beaches, prioritisation for the accessibility upgrades were given to seven of the eight patrolled beaches to maximise user safety.

Council collaborated with not-for-profit charity Accessible Beaches Australia on the project, with funding secured through the NSW Government’s Regional Tourism Activation Fund.

After procuring the heavy-duty roll-up mobility mats, the mats were linked to hard surface lead-in paths, with several new lead-in paths being constructed for this purpose. The mobility mats were deployed by lifeguards during the 2022/23 summer school holidays at seven patrolled beaches across Eurobodalla. The mats were packed up ahead of storms or large seas to avoid any damage

The beaches included in the project were:

  • Surf Beach
  • Malua Bay Beach
  • South Broulee Beach
  • Moruya South Head Beach
  • Tuross Head Main Beach
  • Dalmeny Beach
  • Narooma Surf Beach.

Benefits to the community included:

  • improved beach access for people with disabilities, the elderly, and users of mobility scooters, wheelchairs, strollers, and trolleys;
  • the option for beach-goers to use the mats at seven different beaches across the shire;
  • encouraging visitation at patrolled beaches means improved beachgoer safety and user access to other facilities like toilets and beach wheelchairs;
  • the mats and lead-in paths are made from recycled materials, reducing the environmental impact.

The beach mobility mats were well used over the summer and Council received a great deal of positive feedback from our community and visitors. The lessons Council has learnt so far will be incorporated to further improve user experiences next summer.

Thanks to the assistance of our volunteer Surf Life Saving Clubs, the mats will be deployed on Anzac Day 2023 at Malua Bay, South Broulee, Moruya South Head, and Narooma Surf beaches. Line marking for new disability parking spaces will soon be installed at beach carparks at Moruya South Head, Tuross Head, Dalmeny, and Narooma Bar and Surf Beaches to create further inclusive improvements.

Beach accessibility improvements. Photo credit: Eurobodalla Shire Council, NSW

About the Category

The ‘Regional Growth’ category recognises local government initiatives which:

  • improve the liveability of a region and take advantage of region-specific opportunities;
  • empower vibrant and connected regional communities that promote diversity and inclusion; and/or
  • strengthen investment and development opportunities, share resources, build local capability, and create jobs.

Successful initiatives in this award category benefit communities by:

  • improving productivity, employment and workforce skills through the regions;
  • valuing, protecting and promoting diversity, in particular Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge, cultures and traditions; and/or
  • fostering the development of self-reliant communities and regions with strong economic futures.

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