A little ingenuity, and the will to investigate it, can go a long way.
Huntsville municipal staff have taken to heart a suggestion made by a local resident which would enhance accessibility even further at the Port Sydney Beach.
As part of the enhancements already planned for this year, staff also investigated the possibility of extending a handrail into the water.
“We’re looking to install a handrail system out about 30 feet,” explained Huntsville director of operations and protective services Steve Hernen. “Basically two parallel bars spaced about 34 inches.”
He said the handrails will enable someone with mobility issues to get into water that’s about three-feet deep, which they can then swim away from. A mobility mat will also be installed across the beach leading to the handrails to ensure wheeled devices such as wheelchairs don’t get stuck in the sand.
While the municipality had already set aside about $219,000 in its 2021 capital budget to maintain and upgrade existing infrastructure at the Port Sydney Beach area, it was recently able to secure a grant of up to $60,000 from the Ontario Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility that will help expand accessibility improvements.
Other planned enhancements include a 50-metre-long accessible ramp, a hard-surface walking path from the upper parking lot to the beach—which is also expected to include a handrail—and ramps as required to access the shelter building, wharf, and main dock.
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