ON THE BEACH: Bianca Ahwang got to enjoy the beach on Saturday during Beach Access Day.
ON THE BEACH: Bianca Ahwang got to enjoy the beach on Saturday during Beach Access Day.

Bianca gets a rare trip down to water’s edge

THE last time Bianca Ahwang sat on the beach, she was eight years old.

On Saturday, Bianca got to enjoy being back on the beach as part of the Beach Access Day organised by Gladstone Regional Council.

“This is Tannum and it’s a shame for everyone not to experience the beach, and I couldn’t do that for such a long time,” Bianca said.

“I always manage to get down to the beach on the sidewalk ... but never close enough that you could appreciate seeing the sand and the water. You never get that view.”

As part of Disability Action Week, people like Bianca were able to experience the beach for the day with the help of beach access equipment supplied by Push Mobility.

Equipment included the portable rollout beach access Mobi-Mat, a self-propelled beach wheelchair and a Mobi-Chair floating wheelchair.

While she appreciated the opportunity to get down to the water’s edge on Saturday, Bianca hoped one day there would be permanent equipment to allow her to enjoy the beach whenever she likes.

“I guess in time they will help us do that but for now it’s still a huge leap, it’s still a huge step from having nothing to having something,” Bianca said.

Gladstone Region councillor Natalia Muszkat said council was looking at making the equipment regularly available but said it would require further discussion including around partnerships, insurance, staffing and costs.

She said the safety of the people using the equipment was important and staff would be needed.

“We are exploring the options to make sure that this service continues but it’s also safe to those ones that use it,” she said.