Two longstanding members farewelled

Surf Coast Shire Council's AAAC members Caroline Maplesden and Richard Porter farewelled. (Supplied)

The Surf Coast Shire is celebrating two residents for their service to improving access and inclusion across the community.

Council’s All Abilities Advisory Committee (AAAC) farewelled members Caroline Maplesden and Richard Porter during a lunch on June 12.

Ms Maplesden devoted 22 years to the committee and served as its chair from 2017 to 2021 after attending inaugural meetings in 2002 as a representative of Vision Australia.

“I was privileged to visit people’s homes, to walk alongside them on paths, helping them to learn how to cross roads or to find their chair in a nursing home,” she said.

“To teach someone how to use a white cane, make better use of remaining sight, hearing and touch, how to board a bus or learn a new location is fulfilling work.

“Being afraid to use a path or facility needs to be recognised as a barrier to universal access. Confidence is vitally important for people with poor vision, a hearing loss, or frailty.”

Mr Porter was on the committee for 19 years, where he incorporated skills and insights from his profession as a building surveyor.

“There was always a very positive sort of ‘let’s see what we can do’ attitude by everybody,” he said.

“Over the time the highlights have been meeting the people I did and achieving the different things we did.”

Councillor and former AAAC council representative Rose Hodge said Ms Maplesden and Mr Porter showed “incredible dedication” to the committee and community.

“Caroline’s passion for improving footpath accessibility has been outstanding, and Richard has shared invaluable insights with his knowledge of access standards for buildings,” she said.

People can express interest in joining the AAAC by contacting council, with more information available at