FUN FOR SOME: Council will consider a patrol service and the provision of special beach-going wheelchairs.
FUN FOR SOME: Council will consider a patrol service and the provision of special beach-going wheelchairs.

Jetty access under the spotlight

THE revitalisation of the Jetty Beach Foreshore has seen more locals and visitors making the most of the stunning location, but the less able bodied have been left behind according to at least two local councillors.

To address the issue Coffs Harbour City Council has prepared a special report which proposes a number of initiatives including the trial of a daily lifeguard beach patrol at Jetty Beach during the peak summer period.

The Inclusive Beach Access Issues and Options Paper was prepared after Councillor Sally Townley raised the matter late last year.

With a growing and ageing population it is expected that demand for accessible facilities will only increase.

Jetty Beach is not currently patrolled so the provision of such a service would require either the reallocation of resources or additional resources from the Council Lifeguard Service.

There is no Surf Life Saving Club at the beach and Coffs Harbour SLSC has indicated it doesn’t have the capacity to extend its patrol.

The amphitheatre steps with the yacht club in the background.
The amphitheatre steps with the yacht club in the background.

The patrol service at the jetty could also potentially provide a timely response to incidents at North Wall beach, a known hotspot for surf-related incidents due to strong rips that often form there.

The estimated cost of providing a daily lifeguard patrol at Jetty Beach during the peak period, including initial setup costs for the 2019/20 year, is $45,000.

Other measures outlined in the options paper include the provision of beach mats (to allow wheelchairs and other people with mobility issues to travel across soft sand) and beach wheelchairs.

The cost of the beach mat equipment suitable for Jetty Beach is estimated to be around $25,000 if purchased during 2019/20. The Hippocampe beach wheelchairs are estimated to cost around $6,000-$7,000 each in 2019/20.

Councillors will discuss the options paper at this week’s council meeting where they will consider allocating a total of $85,000 to carry out the plan.

Cr Paul Amos has also raised a separate motion about accessibility at Jetty Beach calling for a permanent ramp to the North Eastern side of the foreshore’s amphitheatre steps.