The NSW Government - Restart NSW (Regional Growth Environment and Tourism Fund) has budgeted for $2,271,000 for the Bega Valley's "A Destination for All - Coastal Accessibility Project" In late 2015 Bega Valley Shire Council (BVSC) engaged Spiire Australia Pty Ltd to develop Coastal Accessibility Plans for Bruce Steer Pool (Bermagui), Short Point (Merimbula) and the Pambula Surf Club Precinct (Pambula Beach), with the overarching objective to improve overall visitor safety and accessibility to facilities and features at each site. In 2018, BVSC received and allocated funding for the implementation of the recommendations outlined in the master plan, and initiated the “Bega Valley Shire – A Destination For All” project. The project sets out to deliver infrastructure improvements such as aquatic ramps, headland pathways and beach access pathways, at each site to transform the locations into accessible destinations. This work will be the catalyst for the establishment of the Bega Valley Shire as a leader in accessible tourism. Works at Bruce Steer Pool were completed in July 2021 and included; an all abilities ramp access to the water, amenities building, parkland pathways, park furniture, picnic shelters and planting. Works at Pambula Beach were completed in March 2021 and included; Surf Life Saving Club (SLSC) storage facilities, car park upgrade, parkland pathways, park furniture, amenities building, playground and outdoor gym and planting. Construction works at Short Point Merimbula that commenced in March 2022 includes:
new toilet amenities including accessible cubicle and outdoor showers;
new accessible picnic tables;
new timber deck viewing and seating platform;
location for commercial food/beverage van;
new accessible parking bays;
accessible footpath linking the new amenities building to headland walk; and
new sun lounges and furniture including bins.
Bruce Steer Pool ramp, Bermagui Bega Valley Shire Council is seeking expressions of interest from community and business members to join the Access and Inclusion Advisory Committee.
Acting Director of Community, Environment and Planning, Emily Harrison said reducing barriers and improving accessibility and inclusion is critical to the future of the shire.
“Accessibility and inclusion are relevant for all of us, or those we care about, at some point in our lives,” Ms Harrison said.
“Accessibility not only has benefits for people with disability, but also older people, parents with prams and people with mobility issues.
“Inclusion is about reducing the barriers to participation for members of the community, regardless of age, cultural background, mobility or disability.
“The aim of the Access and Inclusion Advisory Committee is to use the skills and experiences of our community to help Council consider how best to make ongoing improvements in the accessibility and inclusiveness of Council facilities, projects and information.
“This committee is our ‘eyes and ears’ in the community, helping to identify access and inclusion issues we need to focus on.”
Committee members attend four meetings a year and nominate to provide advice on particular projects that interest them or align with their experience or skillset.
Chair of the Access and Inclusion Advisory Committee, Rosemary Oates said the committee is a great way to share skills, ideas, expertise and personal experience to assist in the creation of accessible and inclusive facilities across the shire.
“I believe that serving as a member of this committee is a great way to be actively involved in the creation of very real improvements for our community,” Mrs Oates said.
“Past contributions have included relatively small projects such as designing picnic tables so that people who use a wheelchair are able to comfortably use them, to larger projects such as the Bruce Steer Pool precinct at Bermagui, inclusive playspaces at Merimbula, Tathra, Bermagui and soon Eden, and the current Short Point project at Merimbula.”
The committee is calling for nominations from people with lived experience of disability or experience in the following sectors to help guide the accessibility of our shire:
hospitality / retail / small business
accommodation services (hotels, motels, caravan parks etc)
Expressions of interest close at 11.59pm on Sunday 17 July and can be submitted via a short form on our website. The form can also be printed, filled in and emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or posted to Council via PO Box 492, Bega NSW 2550.
More information: begavalley.nsw.gov.au/council/access-and-inclusion-advisory-committee