22 January, 2023

Boardwalk upgrades kick off year of accessible tourism

MORETON BAY Regional Council (MBRC) will invest $516,000 restoring footbridges and boardwalks around the region back to service standards, after they were damaged by extreme rainfall in February and May last year.

Boardwalk upgrades kick off year of accessible tourism - feature photo

Moreton Bay Mayor Peter Flannery said it was important to get on with these works, while still waiting for funding applications to be considered by two State Government initiatives - The Community and Recreational Assets Recovery and Resilience Program, and also the Queensland Reconstruction Authority’s Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.

“While we’re still waiting, we’ve awarded these construction contracts so work can get underway in February and March and ensure the footbridges and boardwalks are back in working order as soon as possible after the Christmas break,” Cr Flannery said.

“This is part of our commitment to making Moreton Bay one of the most accessible destinations in southeast Queensland and critically important ahead of 2023 - The Year of Accessible Tourism.

“We have beautiful neighbourhood boardwalks around our region, but the floods caused creeks to burst their banks and do serious damage to this popular public infrastructure.

“In some places the damage is so bad we will have to completely remove sections of and reconstruct everything from the piers and joists up to the decking.

“We were hoping to have these projects commence sooner, but have had to allow a four-week lead time for the construction materials to arrive.

“It’s critical we provide these pedestrian connections for our community to not only enjoy our natural habitat and creeks, but also provide accessible ways for locals to get outdoors and stay active.

“These restoration works will fix flood damage to boardwalks along the South Pine River, Wongam Creek, Fourmile Creek and Kedron Brook.”

Works will be undertaken at the following locations:

* Maureen Lawrence Park, Ferny Hills.

* Willow Glen Court Reserve, Bunya.

* Stanton Reserve, Eatons Hill.

* Kensington Way, Strathpine.

Moreton Bay Council was the first to welcome the Premier’s announcement that 2023 will be the ‘Year of Accessible Tourism’, having spent recent years investing heavily in accessible infrastructure.

Cr Flannery said he was keen to get a share of the $12 million on offer from the State Government to grow accessible tourism product offerings and encourage existing operators to become more accessible.

“Twenty per cent of people in Moreton Bay live with some form of disability and many parts of our region have a significant proportion of elderly residents, so providing accessible infrastructure for everyone is something very close to my heart,” he said.

“Moreton Bay region has long been a friendly place for people of all abilities to call home and feel welcomed without discrimination, but there’s always more we can do to continually improve our standards.

“I’m proud to say both Bribie Island and Redcliffe boast accessible beach matting to enable wheelchairs and mobility scooters to access our waters.

“I was thrilled when our All-Abilities Playground at Leslie Patrick Park in Arana Hills was named the top place to play in Queensland by Parks and Leisure Australia. We will also build an All-Abilities Playground at Centenary Lakes in Caboolture and we’re designing a new playground for Pine Rivers Park which will also include new adult changing facilities.

“Last year we were one of the first Councils to act on the State Government’s call for a zero tolerance policy towards illegally parking in disability bays, and we doubled the fine from $266 to $533.

“This year we’ve invested hundreds of thousands of dollars building Adult Changing Places and new bathrooms, as well as upgrading Council facilities to ensure they’re in line with modern accessibility standards.

“Even before coming to visit Moreton Bay, you can jump online and do a virtual tour of all our cultural venues (libraries, galleries, museums) to pre-plan your visit and ensure we have suitable amenities prior to arriving.

“So I will certainly be doing whatever I can to ensure Moreton Bay isn’t overlooked for funding for projects and initiatives for accessible tourism in the lead up to the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“I would love our 2032 legacy to be one that brings our accessibility standards up to par or better than anywhere else in the world and that visitors go home telling their family and friends about how great our region is for accessibility.”


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