Accessibility Plan for the City

5 December 2011

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown yesterday launched our draft Accessible Wellington Action Plan for consultation.

Reid Loach and mother, Karen, enjoy a practice walk at Newtown Park

Reid Loach and mother, Karen, enjoy a practice walk at Newtown Park

The plan aims to eliminate social and physical barriers in Council facilities, services, programmes and communications. It will encourage other Wellington-based organisations and services to do the same.

Mayor Wade-Brown was thrilled to launch the plan at our Accessible Wellington Forum at Te Papa.

"We're really pleased with the plan's scope across a whole range of city services and facilities," she says.

"Wellington City Council encourages all Wellingtonians, including business owners, to think about how accessibility can be improved for the benefit of all citizens.

"We already have ramps at crossings, free mobility scooters available, magnifying screens at libraries and text versions of documents online, for example. We want to build on our reputation as an inclusive and welcoming city that is accessible, safe and easy to get around. This plan is to act as our guide, and before we adopt it, we want to hear from you."

The Council's Social Portfolio Leader, Councillor Stephanie Cook, says this plan will help direct the Council's day-to-day business.

"On the whole, when people hear the word 'accessibility', they naturally think of 'disability' - people who encounter physical barriers, such as blind people or those in wheelchairs. Times have changed. When we speak of accessibility, we're talking about those with intellectual disabilities, people with experience of mental illness, caregivers, family members of those with disabilities, parents or caregivers with very young children, or the elderly. In short - everyone.

"We realise there are sometimes gaps in our services where we haven't always adequately taken into account different people's needs and abilities. This plan will help us keep accessibility in mind at all times in our planning," says Cr Cook.

"It's vital that we hear from everyone and get this right. I know from observation and past experience that many people are affected at some point in their lives. It could be that you're looking after a family member, or you experienced a temporary barrier such as navigating the city with a pushchair or a spell on crutches. This is all relevant.

"I would also like to add our thanks to our Accessibility Advisory Group, who advise us on these matters, for their input. Their experiences and ideas were invaluable to us as we worked on the plan. We're very lucky to have them."

The consultation documents are designed to make it easy to provide feedback. To have your say:

Public Input - Draft Accessible Wellington Action Plan

Feedback is due by Wednesday 29 February 2012.

We'll be giving updates over the coming months on how the plan is going and also information about public seminars or workshops at your local library.