The Town of Amherst is committed to fostering a culture of accessibility in our community by encouraging the prevention and removal of barriers, working towards equitable access for all and ensuring the voices of our citizens with lived experience are heard and factored into our decision making.
To that end the Amherst town council has formed an Accessibility Advisory Committee. Its mandate is to assist the town council in fulfilling its responsibilities related to identifying, preventing and eliminating barriers faced by people with cognitive and physical impairments who are attempting to access municipal programs, services, initiatives and facilities.
More than 229,000 people – 30 per cent of all Nova Scotians – are living with an impairment. That number will grow as the population of our province gets older.
People living with impairments often encounter barriers that keep them from fully participating in society. Those barriers come in many forms. They could be physical, such as the design of a building. They could be technological, such as the way a computer functions. They could be attitudinal, such as the way others think about people with impairments.
In 2017, the province enacted the Nova Scotia Accessibility Act, which has as its goal making our province accessible by 2030 through the removal of barriers and preventing new ones from forming in areas related to information and communication, transportation, employment, the built environment, education and goods and services.
Removing these barriers will improve the health, well-being and independence of persons with disabilities.
To help the province and the town meet their goals, the Accessibility Advisory Committee, chaired by Coun. Dale Fawthrop, has launched its Accessibility Initiative.
Our first step is to seek input from you the public via a survey, which can be found at https://bit.ly/3PLZHqy. A paper copy can be picked up at the Amherst town hall, 98 Victoria St. E., during regular business hours.
The survey is especially seeking input from people who are experiencing physical, mental, intellectual, learning or sensory impairment, including an episodic disability that, in interaction with a barrier, hinders an individual’s full and effective participation in society. It is also seeking input from organizations and service providers who assist people living with those challenges.
Once the public consultation phase is completed, the accessibility strategy will be developed and presented to the Amherst town council sometime this fall.