District aims to create a barrier-free Squamish

Community invited to identify accessibility challenges through new survey and map

The District of Squamish is creating an Accessibility Plan to identify and work towards removing accessibility barriers related to District infrastructure, programs, services and information. The District is engaging residents to find out what accessibility barriers they, or someone they care for, encounter when accessing District facilities, infrastructure, services or information. A community survey is now open to all residents at letstalksquamish.ca/accessibility-plan.

“Accessibility considerations are at the forefront of District policies, and improving accessibility is essential to being a truly inclusive community in which all citizens receive equal access to our town and its services,” says District of Squamish Mayor Armand Hurford. “Every Squamish resident should have the opportunity to fully participate in our community. Identifying barriers to access is an important step that will increase awareness of accessibility challenges, and inform future actions to ensure that all our citizens cared for, valued, seen and heard.”

The Accessibility Plan will address accessibility barriers across District of Squamish facilities, public spaces, policies and decision-making, information and communications design, transportation, service delivery and employment.

Accessibility barriers include barriers to accessing:

There are multiple ways for the community to get involved:

In 2021, the Province of British Columbia passed the Accessible BC Act, requiring all B.C. municipalities to develop an Accessibility Plan in consultation with an Accessibility Committee.

The District’s Accessibility Committee provides expertise and advisory support to staff in the development of an accessibility plan. The committee is comprised of District staff, representatives from partner organizations, and members of the public with lived experience of having a disability or supporting someone who has a disability.

“Everyone, regardless of ability or age, should be able to access and use municipal buildings, infrastructure and services,” says District of Squamish Accessibility Committee member Sarah Tipler. “The formation of the District’s Accessibility Committee is a positive first step towards ensuring that this is possible. It’s essential that community members living with disabilities are consulted on the barriers that they face and have opportunities to help strategize how to remove these barriers. As a wheelchair user, I’m pleased to be able to have an avenue to contribute to a more accessible and inclusive Squamish.”

Several projects and initiatives have been undertaken or are being developed by the District to address accessibility. These include reviewing streetscape designs and guidelines, adapting communications practices, training staff, and including accessibility considerations in new facilities and developments. The Accessibility Plan will include recommended actions to mitigate or remove the identified barriers in the short and long term. As per the Accessible BC Act, the Plan will be reviewed at least every three years.

A draft plan is expected to be presented to Council in June. A publicly available accessibility plan will be completed by the legislated deadline of September 2023.   

The community survey will be open through April 26.

For more information and to get involved, visit letstalksquamish.ca/accessibility-plan.


March 20, 2023

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