Councils plan for accessible cities

Logan City Council will provide water-safe wheelchairs at swimming pools and ensure all new public facilities are disability-friendly as part of an ambitious plan for a more inclusive and accessible city.

The four-year Access and Inclusion Plan launched on May 7 provides a blueprint for the implementation of a range of initiatives and projects aimed at making life better for residents with a disability.

It contains over 80 actions arising from consultations with more than 36,000 community members.

Silvo Trinca (C) with residents Tara Collyer and Jackson Dunkley at the launch of Logan City’s Access and Inclusion Plan.

Logan City Council acting CEO Silvio Trinca says the city is committed to designing and creating spaces that promote equality and dignity through access and inclusion.

“We are providing ways to remove barriers that impact upon the day-to-day lives of people with disability,” Mr Trinca said. “We want to support people to live a good life in the Logan community.”

Mr Trinca says some of the 84 actions across nine priority area include equipping aquatic centres with water-safe wheelchairs, providing a checklist for accessibility requirements for Council-run or supported events and developing an accessible design guideline for the construction of new public facilities.

A growing city

The Logan Local Government Area has the eighth largest population in Australia, with over 319,000 residents. The population is expected to increase to around 473,000 by 2031.

Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows more than 17,000 people in Logan need day to day help due to disability and around 26,000 people in Logan provide unpaid help to someone with disability.

Logan City Council community services director Katie Barton-Harvey said the Access and Inclusion Plan will guide practices across the organisation and in the community.

“We want to provide opportunities for all and give people of all abilities the chance to fulfil their potential in the City of Logan,” she said.

City of Sydney unveils draft policy

South of the border,  Sydney City Council is also revamping its disability policies with guidelines around kerb ramps, accessible public toilets, picnic settings and playgrounds.  It has also prepared guidelines to ensure community gardens, footpath gardens and activities such as markets are inclusive and accessible.

The City’s draft inclusive and accessible public domain policy, part its four-year City for All: Inclusion Action Plan, is aimed at addressing inequalities faced by people with disabilities, but the strategies will also improve access for elderly people and families.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore says it is vital that community facilities, footpaths and parks can be used by everyone.

“Creating a welcoming, inclusive city for everyone is one of our top priorities,” she said. “I hope that this policy will further reduce the physical and social barriers for people living with disability to enjoy our city.”

The draft policy, which is open for feedback from the community until June 28, was developed in collaboration with the City’s Inclusion (Disability) Advisory Panel.

Mark Tonga, chair of the panel, says the policy creates opportunities for everybody in the community to improve their lives by exploring the city.

“I’m pleased the City of Sydney has the vision to lead the way on this, as better access to the city will help not just people in wheelchairs but the elderly, people pushing prams and people with temporary disabilities.”

Ms Moore said the City is designing a tailored program of engagement to make sure it hears from people living with disability, the wider community and business about the draft policy.

This work will help inform similar policies across metropolitan Sydney, she said.

A version of this story also appears in Community Care Review

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