“We asked them because we hear that our members and many others feel they’re missing out on getting to some of the most beautiful parts of our state, and we wanted to know exactly what the barriers are and what would make for a more inclusive community,” ParaQuad Tasmania CEO Carmel Clark said.
ParaQuad circulated a survey to our members and through partner organisations and councils.
Our respondents were:
-80% said they had difficulty getting across the sand
-56% said they found a lack of suitable change and toilet facilities and
-56% said a barrier was accessible car parking
Importantly, when asked if the use of beach matting would encourage them to access a beach, 95% of respondents said yes.
And if beaches were accessible – what activities would they enjoy?
-72% would enjoy sitting on the beach
-64% would spend time with family and friends
-60% would enjoy swimming
Simply sitting on the beach was a popular answer, with the addition that seating that’s fit for purpose would be needed. In particular something that has rails to assist movement and isn’t too low.
ParaQuad Tasmania believes many of the state’s beaches should be more accessible.
Accessibility is important for everyone – families, parents with prams, and people with mobility issues. An inclusive community is one that enhances accessibility.
Our survey clearly shows that people with mobility issues would enjoy getting to the beach if it was made easier for them. The addition of beach matting would significantly increase beach accessibility.
“We know that a number of Tasmanian Councils have bought beach chairs which will support some people to access beaches. Unfortunately the lack of beach matting means that beach chair users are limited to those who have the support of at least one other person to help them manoeuvre it across the sand.
“Independence is important to everyone. If people with mobility issues could access a beach at any time and not be dependent on other people, then that gives them autonomy and supports inclusivity,” Carmel added.
ParaQuad Tasmania is in discussion with a number of Tasmanian councils about improving access to beaches. We thank everyone who responded to our survey and we’ll continue to advocate for greater accessibility for people with spinal cord injury and physical disabilities.
More on the standard can be found here.