Kentville approves its first accessibility plan as province pushes for 2030 goal

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Kentville's plan includes improved ramps for town hall and accessible parking spots that are clearly marked and the proper size. (David Horemans/CBC - image credit)
Kentville's plan includes improved ramps for town hall and accessible parking spots that are clearly marked and the proper size. (David Horemans/CBC - image credit)

Officials in Kentville, N.S., have approved the town's first-ever accessibility plan.

About 600 people took part in creating the plan, which outlines upgrades to buildings, sidewalks and parks.

That includes improved ramps for town hall and accessible parking spots that are clearly marked and the proper size.

The plan — approved Monday — also talks about making information more accessible, whether that's American Sign Language at public meetings or community signage.

"Looking at the contrast in colours of signage around town as well as where it's shared and the height it's shared, all of those details make a difference," said Rachel Bedingfield, Kentville's accessibility co-ordinator.

Restaurants and hair salons were the top two services identified as the most inaccessible, so the town wants to partner with the Kentville Business Community to help create accessible entrances in the downtown area.

All N.S. municipalities need plans by 2022

The plan also calls for an accessible, gender-neutral washroom facility in Kentville's Centre Square.

Bedingfield said the plan is not just about a change of standards, but a change in attitude.

"It's quite brave in the way that it's approaching things," said Bedingfield.

The Halifax region has already adopted an accessibility plan.

The province wants all municipalities to have such a plan by spring 2022 to help it reach its goal of full accessibility by 2030.

Gerry Post, executive director of the provincial accessibility directorate, said some municipalities are creating plans individually, while others have joined forces, such as along the South Shore.

Post said 30 per cent of Nova Scotians have a disability, which is the highest rate in the country.

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