Access plan lodged

  • January 19, 2009
  • Bruce Bromley

SINGLETON could be the top country town in Australia for disability access if a funding application to the Federal Government is successful.

At the last council meeting of 2008, council chose to snub the CBD streetscape project and go with the ‘Access All Areas’ project for funding under the Federal Government’s $50 million local infrastructure program.

The project, which was developed in conjunction with the Singleton District Disability Access Advisory Committee, is aimed at improving services for people with disabilities.

Council proposes to build a hydrotherapy pool and amenities block, expand the existing disability playground at Rose Point Park and spend over one million dollars to ensure all council facilities have disability access.

Council is seeking funding of $3.315 million from the Federal Government.

The total project is costed at $3.756 million, with council and other contributors making up the shortfall.

Council’s community development officer, Wendell Peacock, said if approved, the project would be a massive boost for Singleton residents.

“This project is aimed at improving access for everyone, not just people with disabilities,” Ms Peacock said.

“If it goes ahead, Singleton will be the leading country town in Australia for disability access.”

An access audit carried out on council’s buildings and facilities for its disability access strategy identified over 290 non-complying items.

Works to bring all of council’s buildings and facilities up to scratch will cost approximately $1.1 million.

According to Ms Peacock, the highest priority items are those for the young and old of the Singleton community, the Out of School Hours care centre, the Senior Citizens Centre, and Colleen Gale Children’s Care.

It is also planned to install four kilometres of additional footpaths, which has a price tag of $515,000, as well as 130 kerb ramps, which will cost $195,000.

The second stage of the all abilities playground at Rose Point Park, costing $411,000, will see the installation of seating, fencing, paths and cycleways, soft fall surface, and new play equipment such as double slides, a water feature and sound creating objects.

It is designed for families with children up to 10, with intellectual or physical disability.

The hydrotherapy pool, will cost around $877,000.

A full disability accessible amenities block will be constructed alongside the pool, so users can get changed and gain access easily.

The associated infrastructure for the pool will cost over $300,000.

Council received a total of 42 submissions from the community in support of the project.

Council’s acting general manager, Gary Woodman, praised his staff for putting together such a professional application in such a short space of time, and said council was hoping to find out if application was successful by the end of February.