Im­pact of beach mats

How ac­ces­si­ble beach mats are mak­ing the dif­fer­ence

The Goderich Signal-Star - - Front Page - KATH­LEEN SMITH Goderich Sig­nal Star

The beaches in Goderich fi­nally rolled out the mats and be­came fully ac­ces­si­ble this sum­mer.

A to­tal of six mats were pur­chased by the Town ear­lier in the spring, with a to­tal ex­pen­di­ture of $14,700. The mats are lo­cated at the Cove Beach and the Main Beach.

Of­fer­ing a dif­fer­ent land­scape this sum­mer, the beaches are more ac­ces­si­ble to those who have dif­fi­culty be­ing mo­bile. The ad­di­tion of the non­slip ac­ces­si­bil­ity mats at the beaches for peo­ple with dis­abil­ity, for those who use a walker or for those us­ing strollers have ac­com­mo­dated a great num­ber of peo­ple. Com­prised of re­cy­cled polyester and re­cy­cled card­board pack­ing, the soft-feel, non-slip ac­ces­si­bil­ity mats are also UV, wa­ter and mildew re­sis­tant. In ad­di­tion, the mats can also be re­lo­cated and also roll up for win­ter stor­age.

Ac­ces­si­bil­ity and in­clu­siv­ity is­sues pre­vi­ously pre­sented a re­stric­tive fac­tor to those who can now visit the Goderich beaches and have the free­dom to go far­ther on one’s own and do it safely. A user of the mats men­tioned that, “It’s free­ing for par­ents of ba­bies and young ones and spe­cial needs or ac­ces­si­bil­ity is­sues. For wag­ons and strollers, there’s no way a sin­gle adult can roll through the sand. It’s very help­ful.” Sin­gle par­ents, par­ents with chil­dren with spe­cial needs or in­di­vid­u­als with mobility is­sues, their ac­cess to the beach is now eas­ier in Goderich. It pro­vides a more sta­ble ac­cess point to the wa­ter with­out wor­ry­ing about trip­ping or a strug­gle. For some users of the beaches in Goderich, the lack of choice of lo­ca­tion when need­ing to use the ac­ces­si­bil­ity mats is a down­side.

“One part of me thinks it’s lovely. It en­ables me to take the baby and a kid or two on my own as I could take the stroller and not need any help lift­ing it down into sand,” says one mother and fre­quent user of Goderich beaches.

“I hate crowds, es­pe­cially on a beach. I pre­fer more iso­lated lo­ca­tions, so per­son­ally the down­side is that your choice of lo­ca­tion is taken from you. Even though the pos­i­tive is greater ac­cess to a spot you wouldn’t have been able to ac­cess with­out the mats.” The greater im­pact of the ac­ces­si­bil­ity mats re­mains to be pos­i­tive for those who have used them.

The fact is that the ad­di­tion of the ac­ces­si­bil­ity mats at the beaches in Goderich al­low for in­clu­siv­ity for all, es­pe­cially for those who pre­vi­ously strug­gled to have a day at the beach.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

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