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Visitors to Queens Gardens are now able to use a new set of accessible picnic tables created by Nelmac, Halswell Timber, the MenzShed and Nelson City Council.
Former Nelmac employee Bryan Hemi came up with the idea when scrolling through Facebook one day.
“I saw a picture of a park in Canada that had refitted existing picnic tables to make them wheelchair accessible.
“I thought, why not do that here in Nelson?
Bryan worked with Kate from the gardening team at Nelmac to find the right tables for the project.
“We settled on two picnic tables by the pond at Queens Gardens,” Bryan says.
“They were already surrounded by asphalt and easily accessible, so it was just a matter of getting a crew and supplies together to refit the tables.
“Murray Leaning from Mitre 10 Helping Hands put me in touch with Alice and Jason Douglas from Halswell Timber, who agreed to donate the timber we needed. Nelson/Whakatū-Menzshed volunteer Denis Moriarty then helped prep and paint the timber for installation.”
Council Parks staff member Haidi Spence arranged for labour costs to be covered and expanded the project to include the installation of accessible tables at Anzac Park as well, which are in development.
Bryan said the project experienced a significant delay due to COVID-19 lockdowns but didn’t take long to finish once everything was back up and running.
“We replaced the timber boards on the existing tables with longer ones that extend past the bench seats, allowing someone who uses a wheelchair to sit flush at the table without a bench in the way.
“It’s a pretty simple solution, but hopefully it will make a big difference for some people in our community.”