Off-road adventures open to everyone

PEOPLE with limited mobility will now be able to better access the coastline at Shellharbour thanks to a new Sandcruiser wheelchair bought by Shellharbour City Council.

The chair will be made available to the public through the Shellharbour Beachside Tourist Park, and is the third chair the council has purchased. Both Warilla and Shellharbour Surf Life Saving Clubs operate similar chairs.

The Sandcruiser, valued at more than $4000, is fitted with large tyres and rear wheel steering, which allow the chair to travel on terrain inaccessible to normal wheelchairs.

"We are pleased to be able to provide this facility for the benefit of residents and visitors wanting to explore to the water's edge," Mayor Marianne Saliba said.

"These wheelchairs make it possible for people restricted by physical limitations to enjoy the seaside when they would otherwise be confined to the level surfaces of the foreshore."

Disabled Surfing Australia national adviser Jim Bradley welcomed the new chair.

"This is a great thing, what people don't realise is that 5 per cent, that's one in 20 Australians, have a serious disability, so chairs such as this help a lot of people," he said.

"It's not only disabled people who can benefit; elderly people and pregnant women will also benefit.

"The other thing is that it benefits the whole network of an elderly or disabled person.

"If you're a carer and you want to go to the beach what do you do?

"Without something like this you probably couldn't - you're not going to leave them in the car with the window open while you go for a swim."

To use the new chair, contact the Shellharbour Beachside Tourist Park on 4295 1123.

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