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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

How included will our disabled be at the Bay Pavilion

Council say that they operate "with legislative and social obligations to drive inclusion in our shire by removing barriers, so that people with disability have better life opportunities and can enjoy the full benefits of participation in our community." In accordance with Division 3, Section 12 of the NSW Disability Inclusion Act 2014, Council is required to set out and meet the following requirement in the form of a disability inclusion action plan. (1) Each public authority must, from the day prescribed by the regulations, have a plan (a disability inclusion action plan) setting out the measures it intends to put in place connection with the exercise of its functions) so that people with disability can access general supports and services available in the community, and can participate fully in the community. The Beagle was contacted by a member of the public this week who wrote "The other week I was sitting in my truck and looked across at the new waterslide and wonder if there was a lift to take people with a disability up to use the new slide. I contacted Council and got a response from a council representative saying there was no lift to access this new slide. I was shocked with the answer after the cost is well over $70 million and there is no lift for the disabled to use when there is a lift at Hanging Rock Sports building and the Broulee Surfers Surf Lifesaving Club."

Above: Bay Pavilions say "The stairway to heaven ... walk up three flights of stairs to access four awesome slides - totalling over 200m of sliding action". Photo: Bay Pavilions Looking to see what happens elsewhere in catering for the disabled who might wish to access the new Batemans Bay waterslides it was discovered that Jamberoo Water Park has a full guide for disabled patrons to determine what rides they can go on.

Source Their Billabong Slide is disability inclusive. The question now asked of Council's Disability Committee is: "Can Council's new disability committee advise if the new water slide at the Bay Pavilion is available to all abilities?". "And while they are at it can someone explain why the idea and support for the planned Water Park at Variety Park in Corrigans (that was going to be free and all abilities) was 'stolen' by Council and moved to the new centre and doesn't meet the sensitivity designs that included misting and soft play." In November 2020 Councillors were addressed by Mr Charles Stuart in regards to the Corrigans Beach Reserve Plan of Management. Mr Stuart is the president of The Bay Push, a not-for-profit organisation, and the instigator of the now complete, Variety Inclusive Playground at Batehaven. He reminded the councillors that a petition signed by 794 residents was presented to Council in September last year. The petition called for approval to a low impact kiddies splashpad at Corrigans Reserve that will be inclusive for all children irrespective of ability. He advised the councillors, once again, that the petition was a little unique in that the content of the petition was explained in person to each and every signatory, mainly conducted in the Batehaven area, because his organisation, The Bay Push, wanted to make it a meaningful petition and not a signature farming exercise. Mr Stuart told the councillors in his Public Forum presentation "Since the petition presentation and my address to council late last year, I have been in regular contact with Fiona Robbe, the architect who designed the highly successful – ‘Variety Inclusive Playground, Batemans Bay’. Fiona specialises in inclusive design and proposes a unique water experience, whereby children who are unable to access the proposed Water Park at Mackay Park through disability, may enjoy a more gently water experience at the proposed Splashpad. "Fiona points out that the children with special needs cannot tolerate a large indoor water park with water slides and tipping bucket, both of which cause excessive noise. "Fiona recommends a Interactive water play area comprising three zones, namely: Zone 1: A series of four hooped arches made up of low misty spray graduating in height and spray strength. Zone 2: A series of taps and pumps for water play. Zone 3: A traditional splash pad with ground level and raised nozzles and sprays. No tipping buckets, no swivel guns or slides. These components would likely result in meltdowns and other behavioural issues.

Above: Images that show the order of the graduated challenge Mr Stuart refers to where fog comes from below, mist comes from above to then transition to gentle water sprays from all directions (yellow hoop) before more pressured water jets from all angles (blue hoop). Once familiar and comfortable with these sensations the next transition is to more sprays progressing to the usual splashpad features. "The benefits of this waterplay area will enable users to become comfortable with water, reinforce mobility skills in wet conditions and act as a transition to a larger facility with confidence, such as the facility proposed at Mackay Park. "It is envisaged that the water play area will be installed adjacent to and compliment the highly popular Variety Inclusive Playground, Batemans Bay. The water play area will be fenced, be accessible to all and free of charge" When asked what was required by means of delivering the splash pad Mr Stuart told Councillors it needed an area of 6m x 20m. Mr Stuart asked of the councillors that in considering the review of the Corrigans reserve Plan of Management they acknowledge and support the proposal that the concept of a filtered inclusive waterplay area allowed for in the Management Plan Review be included. The Corrigans Reserve inclusive playground was officially opened at 10am on Saturday 4th March 2017 At the official opening in 2017 the then Mayor congratulated the organisers of the playground and the members of Council’s Advisory Committee praising them for their drive and determination in providing a facility that served the more vulnerable members of the community yet at the same time offered a first-class play environment that was inclusive of all capacities saying "Eurobodalla Council applies itself to be an inclusive community and this facility is just one of the many examples across the Shire of our commitment to inclusion for all of our community". That drive and determination in providing a facility that serves the more vulnerable members of the community continues through the continued passion of Mr Stuart to see the park, as a whole, come to fruition. It is now hoped that that commitment translates into approving the next important stage of the Variety Inclusive Playground by councillors endorsing the area required for the splash pad and the commitment to fund the very affordable annual maintenance and management of the facility, as outlined by Mr Stuart in his November 24th 2020 presentation

NOTE: Comments were TRIALED - in the end it failed as humans will be humans and it turned into a pile of merde; only contributed to by just a handful who did little to add to the conversation of the issue at hand. Anyone who would like to contribute an opinion are encouraged to send in a Letter to the Editor where it might be considered for publication

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