Cameron D'Amico was one of the first to officially trial the Mobi-Mat beach access mat on Monday morning, with the structure soon to be a permanent part of the Fraser Coast.
Cameron D'Amico was one of the first to officially trial the Mobi-Mat beach access mat on Monday morning, with the structure soon to be a permanent part of the Fraser Coast. Blake Antrobus

Disability access mats rolled out on Torquay Beach

CAMERON D'Amico couldn't contain his excitement when he felt the water between his toes at Torquay Beach.

The 14-year-old, who has spent his life in a wheelchair, was the first to officially trial the Mobi-Mat beach accessing mat at Torquay Beach earlier on Monday, allowing him to access the water and waves without needing to leave his wheelchair.

His support worker Jack said it was a one of a kind experience to see him at the water's edge.

"You could see the emotions and his smile as the waves were splashing on his feet. He's definitely not used to it," he said.

"Programs like this are essential for people with disabilities; some of these guys love to fish and spend time in the water, and this lets them enjoy their hobbies."

Monday's official trial of the mat marked swift progress since it was first demonstrated in April 2016 - which was such a success it prompted a resolution at the next council meeting to purchase the mats.

Further consultation between support groups and Push Mobility, who produced the mats, is planned for when the mats will be officially rolled out.

One of the added benefits, according to Jack, is that the mats allow people with disabilities to spend more time with their families.

"It would be great for the rollout to speed up, as families themselves can easily access it and spend more time with their kids," he said.

"It's working our way (support workers) out of a job."

Fraser Coast mayor Chris Loft said the mats were part of an official trial, with council hoping to "iron out the bugs" before seeking a permanent placement.

"We're hoping it will be now positioned here...in the future, for the use of all the people who live here on the Fraser Coast," he said.

"This is a great day, it's exciting."


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