One of the key accessibility features added in the City of North Bay in recent years could be receiving its own set of wings as early as next summer.
During a recent meeting of the City's Municipal Accessibility Advisory Committee (MAAC), the committee's members received an update on activities and future plans in local parks from the department's manager, David Schroeder.
Among the topics discussed was the Wheels to the Water beach mat located at Marathon Beach, along the Lake Nipissing waterfront and the City's planned expansion of the mat will facilitate the enjoyment of the beach and lake by more people, thanks to increased access.
Originally installed closer to the lifeguard stand nearest King's Landing, for the last two summers, the beach mat named in honour of the late Adam "Wheels" Miller, an accessibility advocate and former MAAC member, had to be relocated due to a landscaping project at the waterfront (see photos above).
Schroeder explained to the MAAC once the construction of a path from the gazebo near the pier to the original mat location is completed — and thanks to the new swath of turf between the beach and boardwalk — when the mat is moved back, there will be excess material as the distance to get to the lake on the mat will be shorter.
Schroeder added, on the suggestion of a citizen who uses a wheelchair, the extra length of the mat will be turned and placed to form a "T" near the water's edge so those using a wheelchair or other assistive devices can set up on the wings with their families and friends on the beach while keeping the path to the water clear for others.
A beach mat has also been installed at Olmsted Beach in Armstrong Park. Accessible playground equipment, accessible pathways, and accessible parking spaces were also included in the overhaul at the park along Trout Lake. Accessible pathways and picnic tables are in various stages of completion at Silver Beach, Sunset Park, and Champlain Park.
The MAAC thanked Schroeder for the update and commended the City's plan for the beach mat at Marathon Beach and other accessibility initiatives.