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Partnerships bring accessibility mat to help people who previously couldn’t, to enjoy visiting Wellington beach

Access to the beach will be opened up to people who previously couldn’t go, thanks to a partnership with the Wellington Rotary Club for a new beach access mat and Mobi Chairs at Wellington Rotary Beach.

Wellington Rotary Club President Lyn McGowan and past-president Ken Robertson updated council at its meeting Tuesday night.

McGowan noted that in early spring, Wade Watts, of Trenton, the Canadian Sales Representative for DMS/Mobi Accessibility Mat Manufacturer, advised the club that a sponsor (who wishes to remain anonymous until the grand opening day May 9) had come forward to fund the project as part of their corporate goal to ensure accessible access to beaches across Canada.

“The Wellington Beach Project would be the first of several that will be developed across the country in the months and years ahead.

“The project team revisited the plan and broadened its scope to include the installation of wider beach mats, some side mats and an 8×12 storage shed. The sponsor also agreed to supply two Mobi Chairs (valued at $4,000 each) which would be available for severely disabled who want to access the water.”

Total cost of the expanded project is estimated to be approximately $52,000 with the sponsor funding $42,000, and Rotary, the balance.

“There is no capital cost for the County and the only expense would be for staff time to do preliminary site grading, assist with installation each spring and annual storage off-season.”

There may also be some requirement to allow access to the Mobi Wheelchairs stored in the storage shed – which may be done by the proposed ‘beach steward’ that is to be presented for the coming summer season.

Mayor Steve Ferguson echoed other councillors in thanking the Rotary Club members for their continued support of the beach and the people who should be able to use is.

“My father was a polio victim and go around in a wheelchair. He loved being by the water but he never got to the beach because of trying to get a wheelchair across the sand was virtually impossible,” said Ferguson. “So I’m fully supportive of this and most greatful for bringing this idea forward.”

Councillor Kate MacNaughton also recalled days when people who needed assistance to enjoy the beach could only do so when their parents were able to lift and carry them. After that, she noted, they were no longer able to enjoy the beach.

The idea began in 2022 when Rotarian Dave Robinet researched installing the mat and learned similar mats have been in place at the Sandbanks Beach and others in the province, including Cobourg.

The original plan involved a modest project funded by the Wellington club with support from other clubs in the area and a District grant from Rotary District 7070. The cost for the original design for a simple mat installation was estimated to be $10,000. Meetings with County staff, Wellington councillor Corey Englesdorfer and the PEC Accessibility Advisory Committee were also completed.

Filed Under: Local News

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  1. Karen I. Smith says:

    This is a marvelous venture and am so proud to a Cty. resident.

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