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Cyprus

Plans to improve disabled access to beaches

Some beaches have disabled access to the sea

Regulations concerning disabled access to beaches should be improved by the summer the House interior committee said on Monday.

Head of the committee Eleni Mavrou said improvements to the legal framework regarding beaches for those people with disabilities should be ready to go to the plenary soon.

She was speaking after the committee discussed the problems concerning wheelchair access to beaches and the presence of guide dogs.

Fears that guide dogs will enter the sea and scare tourists are unfounded, the head of the Cyprus Confederation of Disabled Organisations Christakis Nikolaides told MPs.

He added that dogs are banned on many beaches and there has even been an example of a hotel which did not allow a blind tourist to use his guide dog.

On the issue of wheelchairs, the committee agreed an amendment needs to be made to exempt them from the law which bans all vehicles at beaches.

“We want to do that as soon as possible, so there are as few problems as possible in the summer season,” Mavrou said.

Head of the paraplegics organisation Dimitris Lambrianides stressed it was particularly important to ensure better access to people with severe motor disabilities and suggested a percentage of the proceeds from the rental of umbrellas and sunbeds should be used to develop a better infrastructure for the disabled.

Although there are beaches accessible to the disabled and useful equipment has been purchased with the help of European programmes, “we often see it is not maintained adequately or the municipality does not have any money for maintenance at its disposal resulting in expensive equipment falling into disrepair.”

 



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