Tamworth locals will welcome a new transport hub, designed to help people with disability embark on journeys within the community and beyond.
The Disability Transport Hub is the first of its kind in a regional centre and will help facilitate vehicle movements for people with disabilities, their drivers and carer.
It will also provide 24-hour access to shower and change facilities.
The Hub will be constructed as part of the redevelopment of public amenities in Bicentennial Park, following approval from the Tamworth Regional Council.
Tamworth Region Acting Mayor Helen Tickle says the Hub will be a welcome addition to the Tamworth community.
“Construction of a Disability Transport Hub will provide our high needs community members with access to state-of-the-art facilities that are otherwise unavailable within the CBD and it has the potential to attract new visitors to the Tamworth CBD.”
“The Hub will also deliver one of the key projects identified in Council’s Disability Action Plan which speaks to the community’s desire for improved access as outlined in our Community Strategic Plan,” Ms Tickle says.
Approval for the Hub has come following negotiations between the Council’s Transport and Assets Division and the Disability Transport Hub Working Group, alongside $210,000 in funding from Transport NSW.
Working Group spokesperson Michael Ticehurst says the group is very excited at the opportunity to have the first regionally based Disability Transport Hub in Tamworth.
“Having these facilities means the Tamworth CBD will be adequately equipped for those with severe disabilities and this will help to address some of the inequalities they face daily. In addition, many in the aged care sector will also benefit greatly from this initiative.”
“We are particularly grateful for the support and funding which came from Transport NSW. This project is something the Working Group has been focused on for quite some time and it’s invigorating to see it progress to construction stage,” Mr Ticehurst says.
Fiona Hemmings, a Tamworth local working with the Disability Transport Hub Working Group says the idea for the Hub came about through discussions with other families with children with disabilities and the reduced opportunities for community participation.
As an owner of a transport company herself, Mrs Hemmings recognises the need for these services in the area.
“Many of my dear friends will benefit immensely from the Hub,” she says.
Mrs Hemmings agrees it will encourage people with disability and their carers to visit Tamworth as they can ‘come into town, enjoy a cuppa, meet the services they need and not have to worry.’
The proposed Hub will be built in stages with Stage One incorporating a state-of-the-art “Changing Places” (adult change and shower) facility, a parking layby for buses and cars and basic functional parking and lighting.
Bicentennial Park was decided as the most appropriate location for the job due to existing water and sewer infrastructure.
“The first stage of the construction will be incorporated into the footprint of the planned amenities renewal within the Bicentennial Park precinct providing value for money for the Working Group,” Ms Tickle says.
Council staff will manage the planning and construction of the facility on behalf of the Working Group as part of the Public Amenities Renewal Project and in parallel with future upgrades to the Bicentennial Park precinct.
Construction on the first stage will start before the end of the year, with further construction hanging on the security of additional funding.