KENTVILLE, NOVA SCOTIA – On May 31, 2021, Kentville Town Council adopted the Town’s first accessibility plan which will see public buildings, parks, trails, and sidewalks as well as communication, and digital content, become fully accessible by 2030.
As part of the provincial goal to become fully accessible by 2030, municipalities were mandated to create an accessibility committee and plan by 2022. This framework has resulted in working groups to ensure that persons with disabilities in Nova Scotia have access to buildings and outdoor spaces, education, employment, information and communication, goods and services, and transportation. These working groups resulted in guidance for Towns and Counties across the province to develop their own path toward accessibility. “Almost 1 in 3 persons in Nova Scotia has a disability, and each of those persons has friends or caregivers with them when they travel. This legislation will create a province where individual differences are celebrated and valued and where all persons can participate fully in their communities,” said Gerry Post provincial accessibility advocate and Inaugural President of the Accessibility Directorate of Nova Scotia.
Kentville’s accessibility committee consists of 7 members of the public and 2 Councillors who meet monthly, in person and online, to have brave conversations about access and equity in the Town. Members have lived experience with physical and mental disabilities, as well as being care givers and family members of persons with a disability. Their experiences contributed immensely to the development of the plan. “This committee was entrusted with the vital task of addressing accessibility in Kentville this plan will provide leadership and inspiration to the Town for many years to come.” Quote from Laurel Taylor, chair of the Town of Kentville Accessibility Advisory Committee. “I am proud to be a part of this dynamic and committed group!”
During the making of the plan, consultants at houdini ARCHITECTS and ReachAbility, hosted consultation sessions with the public in parks, over zoom, over the phone and at meetups around Town to share personal stories and give advice about improving the Town. “It can be difficult for people with disabilities to share their negative experiences about living in their community, but their conversations, emails, letters, stories, feedback, drawings, videos, and poetry helped us to understand the many ways that the Town can make positive changes for everyone,” said Sandra Snow, Mayor of the Town of Kentville. “We were honoured that people shared their stories with us, for the making of this plan.”
Town staff have already begun implementing the recommendations from this plan which will help them reach their accessibility goals for 2030. The committee will move forward as an advising body for staff around implementation of the plan.
“Staff are very enthusiastic about this plan- it gives them a new way to see the Town with tools that will help even more residents and visitors enjoy all that Kentville has to offer,” said Town of Kentville Chief Administrative Officer Dan Troke. “Staff and Council will work together to make the vision from this plan a reality.”
For More Information:
Rachel Bedingfield, Director of Parks and Recreation, and Municipal Accessibility Coordinator
To download the Accessibility Action Report, please visit: https://kentville.ca/accessibility
Kentville resides within the ancestral territory of the Mi’kmaq people. We acknowledge that our work is located within unceded and unsurrendered Mi’kmaq Territory. we all have a responsibility and accountability to uphold in the process of Truth and Reconciliation.