Bell Park Main Beach Made More Accessible with Mobi-chair

Jul 14, 2016

Persons with disabilities can enjoy a refreshing dip in Ramsey Lake this summer with the help of Mobi-chair, a floating wheelchair that provides a seamless transition from hard surface to the beach and into the water. The flexible features of Mobi-chair were demonstrated today at the official launch of a Waterfront Accessibility Project at Bell Park’s Main Beach.

“I am absolutely delighted that a summertime tradition at Bell Park has been made accessible to everyone in our community,” said Mayor Brian Bigger. “On behalf of Council, I would like to thank the volunteers serving on our city’s Accessibility Advisory Panel and the staff of Leisure and Clerks Services for their determined efforts to make this beautiful beach a more inclusive and enjoyable experience for all our citizens.”

Mobi-chair can be reserved free of charge by dialing 705-674-9116. The chair is available for 1.5 hour time blocks, between 11:00 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. each day, with the last swim ending at 7:00 p.m. Reservations for Mobi-chair will remain open while lifeguards are on duty at Bell Park, ending in mid- August.

Included in the reservation is the use of a specially modified change room at the Bell Park Main Beach where mobility aids and personal belongings can be securely stored under lock and key. The change room offers a lift and table for the transition to the Mobi-chair and has accessible washroom facilities.

Persons using the Mobi-chair must be accompanied by an attendant during transfer to and from the Mobi-chair and while in the water. Mobi-chair users are secured by a harness. The Mobi-chair’s design features flotation materials to fully float while in the water and to make an easy transition from the water to the beach.

The project was funded with $225,000 in capital, as recommended to Council by the Accessibility Advisory Panel and Greater Sudbury Leisure Services. The project includes the purchase of two beach wheelchairs, an accessibility retrofit of existing men’s and women’s washrooms at the Main Beach, construction of a new accessible washroom and change room, and a newly constructed interlock ramp.

“Mobi-chair can make a world of difference to someone who has been unable to access the lake,” said Linda Whiteside, Chair and longtime citizen representative on the Accessibility Advisory Panel. “We hope to reach everyone who is waiting for that fantastic feeling of going to the beach and swimming with family and friends this summer.”