One of the most popular summer pastimes in Canada is a trip to the beach, either by a lake or on the ocean. But for people with mobility issues, especially those who use wheelchairs, walkers or strollers, these sandy and often rocky areas can present themselves as an unappealing hazard, rather than an inviting place to saunter along the shore.
Sarah-Jones Battersby recently reported for Metro News on a few ways beaches are becoming more appealing including the following:
· Off-road wheelchairs: Conventional wheelchairs have narrow wheels which can often get stuck in the soft damp sand along the shoreline, or the deep fine sand further up the beach. Beach wheelchairs with super-wide wheels are an expensive commodity, but some resorts and public parks now rent ATV chairs which are built to travel easily on sand and in shallow water.
· Welcome mat: Plastic carpets are rolled out along the beach to create a navigable walkway for those who use wheels or walking sticks in order to get around. The designs on the mats also act as a guide for those with visual impairments.
· Fishing platforms: Wooden platforms and docks built above uneven terrain or hazardous rocks create a stable, level platform for anglers to cast their lines in the hope of catching ‘the big one.’
· Boardwalks: Many resorts are expanding and developing these classic coastal structures which can expand the horizons of both able-bodied beach lovers as well as those with mobility issues. Developers focus more on creating pathways with easy slopes and ramps rather than stairs to navigate the terrain, so everyone can enjoy their trip to the beach and appreciate the best of the coastal walks.
To find out more about accessibility on Canada’s beaches, click here.