Matting makes beach access easy

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Beach day at Sorrento: Liam Downes, his partner Meaghan Confait, James Gibson, Pauline Downes, Kate Smith, and Point Nepean Men’s Shed’s Terry Phippen; in front, Liam’s children Fletcher Downes and Spencer Downes. Picture: Gary Sissons

SORRENTO has been chosen as the next location in the rollout of plastic beach matting as part of Mornington Peninsula Shire’s Disability Action Plan.

The matting would make it easy for large mobility chairs to get across the sand and into the water.

“Access for all of us to enjoy the stunning beaches and locations on the peninsula is important,” the shire’s community development manager Chris Munro said.

“Installation of beach matting on our beaches is part of a range of measures we are undertaking to expand access for all.”

Shire officers Virginia Richardson and Zach Grimes met at The Baths, Tuesday 11 February, to discuss laying the beach matting made from recycled material. It provides a firm, safe, and stable surface for about 35 metres across the sand to the water’s edge.

The cost is about $15,000 and the shire is making arrangements with suppliers to have it installed as soon “as we can”.

“The matting is in place at Mount Martha and Mornington at Mills Beach and has been very well used by our community,” Mr Munroe said.

Baths’ proprietors Helene and James Gibson have applied for council permission to widen a small pier alongside the baths and make it wheelchair accessible. The council has approved the plans but objections have been received by the council’s planning department.

Supporter Pauline Downes, who has a disabled son, said the beach matting and use of the pier by the mobility chairs would make the area a “perfect and unique location for the disabled, frail or elderly to enjoy a day at the beach this year”.

First published in the Southern Peninsula News – 3 March 2020

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