An amphibious wheelchair gives people with disability access to open water.
Carers assist Tracey Blair as she enters Belmont Baths in the Mobi-chair
The $4400 ‘Mobi-chair’ will be stored on-site at Belmont baths and accessible to anyone with a Master Locksmiths Access Key (MLAK) – provided by Lake Macquarie City Council to people with disability.
Manager Community Partnerships Andrew Bryant said Council’s Disability Inclusion Action Plan identified the need to improve beach and waterway access for all abilities.
This new chair goes some way towards addressing that need,” Mr. Bryant said.
It’s an ideal piece of equipment for the baths access ramp, which opened last year as part of a wider upgrade to the site.”
Getting into the water makes me feel free, said Belmont’s Tracey Blair, who has represented Australia in wheelchair sports.
It is great that something like this is available for people in a wheelchair. It adds to their inclusion in the community and improves their quality of life.”
The three-wheeled device – the first of its kind in Lake Macquarie – will be stored in the baths’ new amenity building, with visitors simply required to hose it down after use.
A harness and flotation devices attached to the chair mean users gently recline and gradually begin to float as they enter the water.
Council recommends two carers should be on hand at all times to assist and supervise while the chair is in use,” Mr. Bryant said.
Safety is of course our number one priority, and with the baths unpatrolled we want to ensure the Mobi-chair is used correctly.”
Signage in the chair’s storage shed provides detailed instructions outlining the chair’s use in and out of the water.
Mr. Bryant said Council was offering eligible residents the opportunity for a limited time to obtain their own MLAK key free of charge.
Go to lm.city/MLAK or call 4921 0333 for more information.