Residents with disabilities will have improved access to the Ayr and Home Hill swimming pools with Burdekin Shire Council budgeting $90,000 to construct additional bathroom amenities at the two public facilities.
Mayor Lyn McLaughlin said the new unisex amenities – which will include an all-abilities accessible shower, toilet and hand basin, as well as a baby change table – will help make the swimming pools a more inclusive place.
“The current Ayr and Home Hill swimming pool bathroom amenities were built back in the late 1950s. Whilst adequate for their time, Council has identified the need to improve the bathroom facilities in order to open up the swimming pools to a greater part of the community,” Cr McLaughlin said.
“Swimming is a great way of staying fit, particularly for people with health issues that cannot take part in weight bearing activities.
“By providing these facilities, it’s hoped that people who previously could only stay for a short period of time can now extend their visit and increase their physical activity as well. This includes not only people with a disability, but also their family and carers, as well as parents with children of the opposite sex.”
Cr McLaughlin said the new additions would complement Council’s previous efforts to make the swimming pools more inclusive, including the recent installation of modern mobility chair lifts at each facility to improve access in to and out of the pools.
The funding allocation comes after Council was successful in receiving $48,000 under the Federal Government’s Community Sports Infrastructure Program to assist with construction costs.
Meanwhile, Council has budgeted a further $15,000 to undertake a preliminary design and investigate the cost to change the length of the Home Hill pool from the existing 55 yards to the Olympic sized 50 metres.
Cr McLaughlin said the potential change would make a splash with local competitive swimmers.
“Changing the pool length to the standardised 50 metres in the future would not only enable swimmers to train in a standardised swimming pool, it would also ensure times from local carnivals are recognised outside our region.”