Amy is the head of news for the Bay of Plenty Times.

Opinion: The beach should be enjoyed by all

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The community raised $6500 to buy a beach wheelchair for Joshua Laforteza. Photo/File
The community raised $6500 to buy a beach wheelchair for Joshua Laforteza. Photo/File

A huge part of living in the Bay is the beach.

Ask anyone what first comes to mind when they think of Tauranga and it's Mount Maunganui and the beach.

Our city is renown for its huge stretch of beautiful coastline and its surf.

To live in Tauranga and not be able to enjoy the natural beauty people travel across the world to see must be incredibly frustrating.

That has been the reality for many disabled people throughout the city who rely on wheelchairs.

This week we've seen residents taking it upon themselves to make sure everyone can access our beaches.

Tauranga residents and organisation raised more than $6000 to buy teenager Josh Laforteza a beach wheelchair.

Thanks to their generosity he was able to go to the beach for the first time in five years.

Today, a disability-friendly costal viewing platform in Papamoa will officially open.

Disabled residents who wanted to be able to enjoy the beauty of Papamoa beach approached the council with their vision for the platform and now it is a reality.

Tomorrow, disabled people will also be able to trial a special lightweight beach access mat at Mount Main Beach.

I think it's great that as a city we are thinking about the needs of all of our residents.

We should be doing what we can to make sure everyone can access the beach and enjoy one of the region's major attractions.

I applaud residents for taking their idea to the council and the council for taking initiative and arranging the construction of the costal viewing platform.

It is a great example of how local government should work.

The out pouring of support that allowed Josh's family to buy him the wheelchair was also inspirational.

I'm glad to see our city thinking not just about themselves but caring for all residents.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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