PORT Stephens will get its first playground for children with a disability if East Ward candidates Jaimie Abbott and Ryan Palmer get their way.
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Salamander Bay mum Michelle Bokodi, whose four-year-old son Isaac suffers from multiple physical and intellectual disabilities, including autism, approached the pair in the hope of raising awareness of the plight of disabled children.
Ms Bokodi said the area was in desperate need of an all-inclusive playground, similar to the outdoors areas at Speers Point and Mt Isa, and that she had the support of other mums on the Tomaree peninsula.
“Isaac enjoys visiting playgrounds, but unfortunately there is nothing in Port Stephens that caters for children with disabilities,” Ms Bodoki said.
“The area needs a playground that is fenced off, that is easily accessible by wheelchair and is safe.
“I would also like to see a visual board for those children who have delayed language abilities.”
Candidate Ms Abbott said it was high time Port Stephens looked seriously at providing a community-based playground with access to all children including the disabled.
“A lot of children with disabilities have no concept of danger and, like Isaac, they abscond with great speed and no warning so a fenced area is needed,” Ms Abbott said.
“I would like to see a park suitable for all abilities and ages, featuring shade, seating and undercover areas, as well as disability play equipment that is wheelchair friendly and inclusive.”
Mr Palmer said that Corlette Playground in Corlette Point Road would be an ideal location.
He estimated a cost of between $80,000 and $100,000, “a small cost to pay for a much-needed community facility”.
By Charlie ELIAS