Robe Lions Club donate 'sandcruiser' wheelchair

The Robe Lions Club has made a donation that will help people with mobility issues access Robe's main beach.

The Robe Lions donated a specifically designed 'sandcruiser' wheelchair this week so that people with mobility issues are able to access the Main Beach.

This Easter and school holidays has seen people who are either dependant upon wheel chairs to get around or who have other mobility issues being able to access the Main Beach through the new beach ramp.

Last Monday saw the official handing over of this chair from Club President Margie Thomas to Robe and Districts Mayor Alison Nunan at the Robe Information Centre.

Also joining the handing over was local resident Barry Smith who became the first person to make use of the chair when he spent a bit of time on the beach. Something he hasn't done for quite some time.

Mayor Alison was full of praise at this newest venture to the members of the Robe Lions Club.

"This is just another example of the efforts of Lions members here in Robe as they continue to serve their local community in many ways," Mayor Nunan said. "It also shows the great relationship they and our council have had with each other of many years."

Mayor Alison stated also that whilst the beach ramp had been a lengthy project she was thrilled to see it being used to its fullest potential.

The old ramp prevented access to anyone in a wheel chair. The new ramp along with the Lions 'sandcruiser chair' has opened up the front beach of all users which is fabulous.

The Beach Wheel Chair Project was first brought to the Robe Lions Club by President Margie around 18 months ago after she had been speaking with a wheelchair bound friend of hers who frequently visits the town.

Margie said that it became very evident that people, both young and old, who were restricted to wheel chairs or otherwise unable to walk well enough to get down onto beach were missing out on the enjoyment shared by many abled body visitors.

"The fantastic new ramp onto the Main beach with its smooth surface and reduced angle of decline provided the perfect opportunity to rectify this access problem to people with disabilities - but with a cost of almost $5,000 meant it might have been a long time in coming the idea was accepted with enthusiasm by the Club," Margie said.

Margie and fellow Lion Trevor Wagner took the idea to the Councils Ex CEO Roger Sweetman early into the developmental stages of the beach ramp.

Again, showing the great relationship the Lions Club has shared with the Council over many years, he committed both his and the councils support with the aim that whilst the Lions Club would purchase the chair the Council would take over the management of it.

During the towns highly populated tourist seasons, the chair will be kept at the Tourist information Centre and monitored by staff there.

The chair is available at no cost to the public but conditional on users signing and agreeing to the 'terms of use and safety policy' including that it is only to be used on the Main Beach in Robe.

The Council and Lions Club are keen to advise all potential users that this wheel chair, sourced from a provider in Queensland, has been specifically designed to be used on both dry and wet sand at the water's edge and will enable both 'local' Robe residents and tourist staying and visiting Robe who have mobility issues to now access the Main Beach area using the beaches new disability friendly ramp onto the beach.

The chair is stable in water levels up to the centre of the tyres, in still water conditions. Beyond this point two carers are required, as per the Disabled Surfers Association of Australia recommendations.

The 'chair' has balloon tyres which do have a tendency to float, depending on weight being carried and will become unstable once the chair and its passenger becomes buoyant.

Users will be advised that 'if you are in doubt do not attempt to go into the water.'