Due to the positive impact of the Accessible Beaches Trial in 2015-16 Council is now working towards creating two fully accessible beaches by 2020.
This summer from Saturday 3 December 2016 to Sunday 26 March 2017, with support from Williamstown Swimming and Life Saving Club, Altona Life Saving Club, and local traders Council will be providing beach matting seven days a week on both Williamstown and Altona Beach, and FREE to hire beach wheelchairs available on Saturdays and Sundays during surf life saving club patrol hours (12pm to 5pm).
Where: Williamstown and Altona beach
When: available seven days a week – a first in Victoria
Who: anyone can use the matting, however it particularly helps people with wheelchairs, prams, walking and mobility aids to pass over the soft sand to get to the hard sand
What: there are two types of beach wheelchairs available, the Sandcruiser which is designed to travel on the sand along the beach (available at Altona), and the MobiChair which is designed to enter the water to waist height of the support person (available at Altona and Williamstown)
Where: Williamstown and Altona beach
When: available Saturday and Sunday during the surf life saving patrol hours (12pm to 5pm)
Who: beach wheelchairs are ideal for people who have mobility limitations, including those with permanent disability, temporary disability or those with reduced mobility due to age
Booking: use is FREE but bookings are essential, conditional upon users reading the Hire Agreement and Safety Procedures for the relevant beach wheelchair, and signing the indemnity form before the beach wheelchair could be used. A copy of the forms can be found below
Beach Wheelchair-Hire-Agreement(PDF, 108KB)
MobiChair Saftey-Procedures(PDF, 207KB)
To book Monday to Friday contact Council’s Metro Access and Inclusion Officer on 9932 1000 or email email@example.com
On Saturday and Sunday contact or visit the life saving clubs to see what times are available.
Note: hoist facilities are currently not available, please ensure you have the appropriate level of support available during your visit (if required).
Williamstown Swimming and Life Saving Club
Corner of Victoria Street and Esplanade, Williamstown
Ph: 0478 416 004
Altona Life Saving Club
127 Esplanade Street, Altona
Ph: 0438 939 880
Accessible parking, toilets, and showers are available at both beaches.
For general enquiries and feedback contact Hobsons Bay City Council’s Metro Access and Inclusion Officer on 9932 1000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you have a hoist for wheelchair transfer?
Currently we do not have a hoist available at Williamstown or Altona Beach, if you need assistance to transfer please bring a friend or support person to assist. Contact Hobsons Bay City Council’s Metro Access and Inclusion Officer to discuss any access needs.
What is the difference between the Sandcruiser and MobiChair beach wheelchairs?
The Sandcruiser beach wheelchair is designed to get you to the waters edge. You can enter shallow water but only up to the centre of the rear wheels – so you will definitely be able to dip your toes in the sea. The MobiChair has floats built into its arm rests allowing users to enter deeper water (up to waist height of support person) and experience floating in the sea.
Do I need to bring additional support?
Yes please. Our beach wheelchairs cannot be independently pushed so you will need to bring along a friend or two to assist with transfer (if needed) and help push across the sand. If you are hiring the MobiChair and wish to enter deeper water you must have a minimum of two supporters.
Why is having an accessible beach important?
Hobsons Bay has more than 20 kilometres of beaches and foreshore areas, which are greatly valued by the community. With Council’s commitment to access and inclusion, Council would like to ensure that key foreshore locations, such as the beaches, are accessible for all to enjoy.
People with a disability represent approximately 17 per cent (15,656 people) of the total Hobsons Bay population. While disability can impact individuals in many different forms, some of the largest impacts on people with a disability are physical barriers within the built and natural environment, restricting their ability to conduct their lives in a spontaneous and unplanned manner. It is understood that if a community is physically accessible for people with a disability there is increased access for all community members such as older people, children, and pram users.
What were the results from the trial in 2015-16?
From 5 December 2015 to 28 March 2016 Hobsons Bay City Council, in partnership with local life saving clubs and traders, implemented its first ever Accessible Beaches Trial. This included an accessible beach wheelchair located at Altona Beach and beach matting located at Williamstown Beach. The findings from the trial indicated that these two pieces of accessible equipment provided support and opportunities for community members with a disability as well as their families and friends to explore, play, exercise, meet and connect. For some, this included being able to be on the beach and in the water for the very first time. Both pieces of equipment were located within close proximity to accessible parking, accessible toilets, cafes and lifesaving clubs.
The trial showed some great community outcomes, however there is still more than can be achieved. Through the evaluation report Council identified a range of other strategies that can be implemented to further improve access. Such as the availability of matting at both beaches seven days a week during summer, access to a range of beach wheelchairs: independent chairs, water chairs, and children’s chairs, and the installation of a Changing Places toilet at both beaches. These access features require a substantial financial contribution. Council is currently looking at the feasibility of how this can be achieved by 2020.