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 was to seek input from you the public via a survey that sought input from people who are experiencing physical, mental, intellecutal, learning or sensory impairment, including an episodic disability that, in interaction with a barrier, hinds an individual's full and effective participation in society. It is also sought input from organizations and service providers who assist people living with those challenges.
The committee used the information gleaned from the survey to develop the Town of Amherst Accessibility Strategy, which was adopted by the Amherst town council in January 2023. A copy of the strategy can be downloaded by clicking here.
This survey is for people with disabilities, their loved ones and caretakers, as well as people who work with and for persons with disabilities. This includes people who have physical disabilities, intellectual or learning disabilities, psychiatric disabilities, visual impairments, hearing impairments, neurological disabilities, or are otherwise differently-abled.
We want to make parks accessible for everyone. To do that, we need to understand the types of barriers faced by individuals with disabilities in Amherst parks. In this survey we will ask about these types of barriers:
We acknowledge that this survey asks about negative and difficult situations that you, or people you care about, may have faced in parks. Your comments and feedback will help us create more accessible and inclusive parks in Amherst.
To participate, please click here.