Wheelchair friendly access path for Little Beach

People with disabilities will benefit from a newly proposed wheelchair friendly access path at Nelson Bay’s Little Beach.

Councillors Glen Dunkley and Ryan Palmer inspect the work being carried out on the existing Little Beach access ramp.

Councillors Glen Dunkley and Ryan Palmer inspect the work being carried out on the existing Little Beach access ramp.

The path is expected to complement the adjacent access ramp and fishing platform, currently being upgraded by Port Stephens Council in conjnction with NSW Fisheries to the tune of $98,000.

East ward councillors Jaimie Abbott and Glen Dunkley have joined mayor Ryan Palmer in extolling the benefits of the ramp upgrade to both recreational anglers and people with disabilities.

Cr Abbott described it as an exciting project which would see a much bigger platform than previously existed.

“When complete, the access ramp will also feature modified railings which are designed specifically for people in a wheelchair so they can also fish from the platform,” Cr Abbott said.

“The safe access area will also be secured with a slip-resistant decking.”

Mayor Palmer said that transforming the Little Beach precinct into a disability accessible hub was a priority for the council, but was subject to the special rate variation currently being proposed.

“The existing toilet block needs replacing and is earmarked for demolition in approximately three years time,” he said.

“The council will be looking at providing an wheelchair user friendly pathway from the new toilet facility all the way to the beach, providing direct access to the sand and water.

“This will ease the pressure off the existing access ramp.”

The Little Beach disabled access jetty was built in 1996 and is the Port's only disabled access ramp leading in to the water.

Significant repairs to the jetty have been undertaken over the years.

Cr Dunkley said that another proposal was to upgrade the nearby boat ramp, by lifting and extending the ramp further into the water.

Boaties using the boat ramp have often complained of bogged cars and trailers, smoking tyres and burnt clutches, despite the regular maintenance from Port Stephens Council.

Worse, the ramp is too often covered in sand and trailers have been known to drop off the end of the concrete pad because the  ramp is "too short" at low tide.

It is expected that the cost of the new buildings and upgrade work would surpass the $1.5 million mark.