Council launches Disability Access and Inclusion Plan
Moreton Bay Regional Council has today unveiled a new regional vision to improve the accessibility and inclusiveness of council infrastructure and services in the region.
At council’s Coordination Committee Meeting on Tuesday 19 June, council adopted the region’s first Disability Access and Inclusion Plan 2018-2022 following community consultation including online surveys and a series of facilitated community workshops.
Mayor Allan Sutherland said more than 190 people, including disability advocates and carers participated in community consultation activities with feedback ranging from the provision of improved parking near building entrances, better accessibility between footpaths and picnic tables, barbecues and toilets and greater education and awareness about access and inclusion in our community.
“The plan articulates a clear strategy starting this year through to 2022 to make our region more accessible and inclusive for people living with disabilities and to improve access and inclusion in our community,” Mayor Sutherland said.
“Based on the great feedback we received, a number of actions have been proposed to improve accessibility and inclusiveness under five priority areas: pedestrian mobility, parking and transport, buildings and facilities, parks and open spaces, event and programs; and council services.
“There are a number of actions that council is already undertaking to ensure we are supporting the needs of residents of all abilities such as region-wide inspection of our footpaths and upgrading bus stops to meet the required standard for accessibility.
“Through this plan, council can identify opportunities to improve infrastructure and services for people with disabilities so they can better access our stunning nature trails, beaches and fun-filled events.
Some of these new opportunities include:
- Investigate the delivery of ‘Changing Places’ toilets in key locations throughout the region to meet the high-care needs of individuals with profound disabilities and their carers
- Engaging with Surf Life Saving Queensland to investigate the provision of accessible beach chairs and matting at Suttons Beach in Redcliffe and Woorim Beach in Bribie Island
- Providing AUSLAN interpretation as part of selected council events and programs
- Investigating the installation of Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs) at key council managed community buildings and facilities
- Investigating opportunities to trial recharge points for electric mobility vehicles at appropriate council facilities
- Identifying and promoting appropriate accessible trails in natural areas throughout the region
“We also received strong support from the community for council’s proposal to incorporate inclusive play elements into new and existing playgrounds so that they are accessible to children of all abilities.
“The all-abilities playground that was developed at the Caboolture Region Environmental Education Centre (CREEC) just two months ago, incorporates a number of accessible pieces of play equipment to give children with disabilities the opportunity to get outdoors and have fun.
“The $220,000 specially-designed council-funded playground features three towers with slides, track rides and climbing nets; a wheelchair accessible play area; play hut; and sensory walls, all to encourage inclusive and engaging play.
“I am also pleased to announce that we have allocated funding for detailed design of a new all ages, all abilities play and picnic space and new accessible amenities block at Leslie Patrick Park as part of council’s 2018/19 Budget.
“Additionally, the multi-million dollar upgrade of Scarborough Beach Park completed last year also includes plenty of inclusive and accessible spaces with its wide shared pathways, unique wheelchair-accessible tables as well as additional handrail and ramp access from Landsborough Avenue to make the area even more accessible to park users.”
Council’s Spokesperson for Lifestyle and Amenity, Denise Sims and Division 10 Councillor Matt Constance who have both worked closely on the plan along with local access and inclusion advocates said they were pleased the community had provided constructive feedback during the public feedback period.
“I want to express my sincere appreciation to those who have taken the time to provide feedback,” Cr Sims said.
“It’s important to remember that this is a living document that is updated to respond to the ever-changing needs of Moreton Bay, and the only way we have been able to do that is with your feedback.
“I thank my colleagues for their unanimous support in backing this initiative and the council staff and local advocates who have poured their hearts, time and energy into this excellent piece of work.”
“To see so many people taking the time to provide feedback on this plan is fantastic and demonstrates just how important this issue is for many of our residents and visitors,” Cr Constance said.
“Simple changes like widening footpaths, installing voice recognition technology and changing the height of locks or buttons can make an enormous difference to people’s lives,” he said.
Local Disability Advocate and Kallangur resident, Elisha Wright, said the launch of council’s first Disability Access and Inclusion Plan was great news for the entire Moreton Bay community.
“What this plan means for us is that we know that things are going to change and they are going to change on a broad spectrum of things,” Ms Wright said.
“There is so much that has been included in this plan that we can really be excited about and there are going to be things that we didn’t expect would happen.”
The Disability Access and Inclusion Plan 2018-2022 is available online and can be viewed at: www.moretonbay.qld.gov.au/disability-access/
Photo above: Local Disability Advocate, Elisha Wright with Council’s Spokesperson for Lifestyle and Amenity, Councillor Denise Sims and Division 10 Councillor Matt Constance.