Monday, 20 September 2021

‘Changing Places’ facilities for All Abilities Playground

Work has begun on a new inclusive toilet and change room facility, known as a ‘Changing Places’ facility, at the All Abilities Playground in Hervey Bay. 

Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt said the $230,000 project is being funded under the Federal Government’s Local Roads and Community Infrastructure (LRCI) Program. 

“I’m pleased this ‘Changing Places’ project will provide improved facilities for people with a disability so they can be active in the community,” Mr Pitt said. 

“The LRCI program provides an opportunity for councils to nominate local priorities that improve the lives of Hervey Bay residents while also boosting local jobs and supporting local businesses. 

“Through the first phase of the LRCI program, the Urangan Community Centre is undergoing a $1.5 million upgrade to establish a wellness hub. 

“Phase 1 and 2 of the LRCI program has provided almost $6 million in funding, with an additional $3.8 million available to the Fraser Coast Regional Council from 1 January 2022.” 

The Hervey Bay facility would cater for a range of people using the Seafront Oval, Pialba adventure playground and All Abilities Playground.  

“The Changing Place provides suitable facilities for people who cannot use standard accessible toilets,” Cr Jade Wellings said.  

“They include an motorised adult-sized change table that can be raised and lowered, ceiling hoist, a peninsular toilet, privacy screen, shower with hot and cold water as well as addition circulation space to meet the needs of people with complex disabilities and their carers. 

“The entrance doors are also motorised for ease of access.” 

Cr Wellings said that according to the Australian Census data, the Fraser Coast had almost double the number of residents living with a disability compared to the Queensland average. 

“Some of these residents cannot use a standard facility and have additional needs. This may include people with cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, spina bifida and motor neurone disease, as well as many other people with a disability,” Cr Wellings said. 

“Providing this new facility will ensure that those with high support needs and their carers can more easily participate in our community.” 
 
The All Abilities Playground was identified as the preferred site for the facility following feedback from the Fraser Coast Inclusive Access Advisory Committee as well as special-interest groups, peak bodies and associations. 

“We anticipate the facility could be operating by the end of November, weather permitting,” Cr Wellings said. 
 
When completed, Fraser Coast Regional Council will apply to have the facilities accredited and registered on a national database.  

The accreditation process ensures that Changing Places are built to standard, fit for purpose and access is provided via a Master Locksmiths Access Key (MLAK) for carers, assistants and support workers to effectively plan outings, excursions and activities. 

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