Gonubie launches an access mat and amphibious beach wheelchairs

As The National Council of and for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD), we are actively involved in Universal Access with assessment audits, advice, and training. We also provide support to the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA) amongst others regarding Universal Access.

A beach access mat and two amphibious floating beach wheelchairs were recently handed-over during a ceremony at Gonubie Beach in the Buffalo City Metro. The enjoyment and smiling faces of the learners from Vukuhambe School were evident of the huge impact this equipment will bring to all beachgoers at Gonubie Beach.

BCMM Executive Mayor Princess Faku said during the ceremony, “We need to fight against the marginalization of persons with disabilities. I plead with officials and the public at large that these facilities do not go to waste. The success of this project is on us,” Faku emphasized.

Beach mats and amphibious wheelchairs are important and integral parts of an accessible beach environment, but there are more access elements that are critical in the process. These local and international requirements form the basis of what will be audited and implemented before a beach qualifies as an accredited, accessible (universal access for all) beach.

Universal Access refers to an inclusive environment that includes all members of the public, especially persons with an impairment, the elderly, and parents pushing baby strollers. Access commences at the designated parking bays with easy access routes to the beach and waterline. Signage and wayfinding are key from the parking bay to the beach (waterline), including accessible ablution facilities, flat and firm walkways, handrails where applicable, ramps (gradient) in line with specifications, and any amenities.

The end goal is to facilitate and promote a safe and accredited, accessible beach environment for all potential beachgoers, with a focus on persons with disabilities.

For more info on Universal Design, please contact Danie Marais: Senior Manager Projects, Governance & Universal Design on danie@ncpd.org.za and for details on the project, Jakkie Pieters: Director: Association of and for Persons with Disabilities Jeffrey’s Bay (APD Jeffrey’s Bay) on +27 83 376 6764  |  jakkie@mweb.co.za

For more information on access to beaches for individuals with hearing impairments, watch the video: YouTube: Access and safety of beaches for persons with hearing loss

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