Area B Director Sierra Acton with members of Cowichan Wheels Association on the new mat at Old Mill Park in Shawnigan Lake. (submitted)

Mat expands accessible beach, water access at Shawnigan park

“…a family friendly beach by the lake is accessible to all our citizens and visitors…”

The Cowichan Valley Regional District and the Cowichan Wheels Association have partnered to install a mobility mat for improved waterfront access at Old Mill Park in Shawnigan Lake.

For nearly two decades, Cowichan Wheels has organized and fundraised to enhance public spaces in the Cowichan Valley to be accessible for all citizens. The most recent project is a Mobi Mat which allows people who use wheelchairs or walkers to enjoy the lake and sandy beach with the ease that those living without mobility issues enjoy.

“Our Valley is an incredible place to live because of our access to so many water sources. Now, because of this project, a family friendly beach by the lake is accessible to all our citizens and visitors,” said Laura Stephenson, board secretary for the Cowichan Wheels Association. “Cowichan Wheels thanks the CVRD for the installation of our Mobi Mat and believing in the importance of accessibility for everyone.”

Cowichan Wheels throws an annual Wheelchair Rugby Tournament to raise funds for community improvement projects such as the Old Mill Mobi Mat. Some past projects include funding the lift at the Cowichan Aquatic Centre, wheelchair ramps at Evergreen Independent School, a wheelchair accessible wildlife viewing platform at Somenos Marsh and accessible swings at local parks. The Society also provides annual post-secondary bursaries for individuals living with disabilities.

Cowichan Wheels also supports a local wheelchair rugby team, and welcomes all drop-in players. Cowichan Wheels relies on volunteers and donations, and encourages ideas from the public for accessibility projects in the community. To connect with Cowichan Wheels please visit and send a message through their Facebook page at

For more information on Old Mill Park, please visit


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