A trip to the beach is simply part of Australian life. But for Newcastle man Joseph Popov, a visit to the beach is far from simple.
As someone who lives with disability, comfortably making his way to and around the changerooms to enjoy Newcastle’s iconic Nobbys beach has always been impossible.
Now, thanks to City of Newcastle upgrades, the new change rooms include a specialised hoist and bench to cater for mobility-impaired beach goers as well as a new ramp to the lower promenade of the beach as part of a multimillion-dollar coastal revitalisation priority project.
Joseph says these upgrades are a game changer as summer approaches.
“As a Novocastrian, I count myself among the many locals who love going to the beach. You can't compete with the views and what Mother Nature offers at Nobbys Beach,” the Bachelor of Social Science/Laws student and Community Disability Alliance Hunter (CDAH) Vice President said.
“The new upgrades will definitely encourage me to go to the beach more frequently, whether I need to go to the bathroom or change into Speedos.”
City of Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes, representatives of Surf Life Saving NSW and the Lions Club of Newcastle officially opened the Nobbys Accessible Change Facilities today.
City of Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the project includes a new amenities block with a dual-purpose room containing an accessible toilet and baby change facility. A second room provides an assisted change room with accessible toilet, shower, basin, bench and hoist.
“It’s important that our beaches can be enjoyed by all of our community and these upgraded facilities significantly improve the accessibility of Nobbys Beach,” the Lord Mayor said.
“These most recent upgrades to Nobbys Beach may go unnoticed for many people, however for those with a disability they mean the difference between getting sand between your toes and watching from the car park.
“I sincerely thank our partners, Surf Life Saving NSW, and the Lions Club of Newcastle. By building on partnerships, we create a better community.”
The opening event also incorporated the launch of the Access in the City (AiTC) app, an initiative created by a local startup aimed to improve the city experience for people utilising mobility devices.
Because AiTC has a strong inclusion focus, the platform will benefit people by enabling them to access the city in their own way with information and guidance on their device.
AiTC was the winner of the City’s first ever online mobility challenge. Out of 35 applications from across the globe which proposed ideas for addressing an urban mobility issue in Newcastle, the winning entry was created by a local company.