The Sunshine Coast’s new mobility maps are turning heads – and wheels.
The maps, available online, display paths and trails that are accessible for people of all abilities.
It’s bound to help mums and dads with toddlers in tow, the elderly with walkers, people using mobility aids and anyone with wheels.
The maps were created using modern mapping technology, with devices installed on wheelchairs to track routes from Maroochydore to Mooloolaba.
Categorising clear routes is expected to minimise mobility difficulties and allow users to make informed choices before visiting locations.
Community Portfolio Councillor David Law said the project would promote activity, mobility options and encourage visitation.
“Equity and inclusion are key principles we value here at council and in our community, which is why this pilot project was essential in identifying accessible routes suitable for everyone,” he said.
“One area undergoing significant revitalisation, with an emphasis on accessibility, is the Mooloolaba foreshore, as well as our beach accesses.
“We have some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and they are becoming increasingly accessible with the availability of beach wheelchairs and beach mats.”
He said there was greater scope for the mobility maps.
“To ensure beach visits are simple and enjoyable for all, we are taking the next steps to map 18 beach accesses within the existing mapping area (Cotton Tree to Mooloolaba) that have a sealed surface and lead to either the beach or a viewing platform.
“The maps will include the north section at Beach Parade, Maroochydore (BA 146) to Mooloolaba Spit carpark in the south (BA 195).
“In coming months, the maps will also include the pathway network around the Sunshine Coast University Hospital health precinct and we are looking to roll out mapping at the Sunshine Coast Stadium sports precinct.
“As the program develops and as budget allows I look forward to encouraging and delivering mapping for other locations such as our hinterland towns.
“It’s so important that in the lead-up to the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, our region provides an opportunity to deliver best practice, fully accessible public amenities that better serve our wider community and prepare the region for the world stage.”
Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson said the maps would improve the way residents and visitors accessed and enjoyed popular areas.
“I’m pleased to announce the maps are live on council’s website – allowing everyone to find their best path, according to their needs and ability,” he said.
“I’m pleased to see Sunshine Coast Council partner with Briometrix, a leading provider of technology solutions for people with disabilities – to undertake this important project.”
The maps include accessible parking, toilets, ramps and crossings.
They also have marked sections of paths with effort ratings, from ‘easy’ to ‘caution’, taking into account the grade of the path, the surface condition and the cross fall of the footpath.
Mobility mapping pilot Dane Cross said the maps would be life-changing for many people living with limited mobility.
“The Sunshine Coast is home to some of the most incredible natural environments in the country, but many locations remain a challenge,” he said.
“The areas we mapped from Cotton Tree to Mooloolaba, as well as the Mooloolaba Spit Boardwalk, are a great start.
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“These maps are easy to use on your computer or handheld device.
“I use my phone when I’m out and about to check accessible parking locations, toilet facilities, accessible entries into restaurants and lift locations, as well as finding the best route between them.
“Hotels and entertainment venues have also been mapped. It just gives me an ease of mind when I’m out and it should help others plan before they leave the house.”
Sunshine Coast Council will join other local governments and transport authorities across Australia – including Brisbane, Townsville, Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads, Wollongong, Sydney, Melbourne and Public Transport Victoria – in deploying Briometrix Mobility Maps.
To access the mobility maps visit Sunshine Coast Council – Mobility Mapping. For more information about the program visit Briometrix. See more information at Sunshine Coast Council – access, inclusion and disability.