About Access BC
We all know British Columbia is supernatural. Now, a Spinal Cord Injury BC initiative is helping making it super accessible, too.
In 2016, in collaboration with local governments and community stakeholders, SCI BC’s Access North project audited more than 450 outdoor spaces in North-Central BC, including municipal, provincial and federal parks, recreation sites, and visitors’ centres. The new Access BC website features in-depth accessibility specifications for each audited area, as well as virtual tours and videos, suggested driving routes and maps, accessible tourism tips, and more.
“It’s an opportunity for partnership,” says Shirley Bond, MLA for Prince George– Valemount. “And it’s a chance for us to explore even further the concept of universal design, making sure that whether you’re a senior, whether you’re a parent who has a baby buggy, or whether you’re a person with a disability, that there are fantastic places for you to enjoy here in Northern BC.”
During the project’s first phase, Access North auditors, hired through BC’s Job Creation Partnership, used a custom assessment tool to measure and rate amenities in North-Central BC parks and rec areas, with the end goal of showcasing and helping to inform and improve accessibility in the great outdoors. Now, Spinal Cord Injury BC is hitting the road again to expand the program to other parts of British Columbia. Throughout 2017 and 2018, the Access BC team will audit rest stops along the five major driving routes in BC and offer Universal Design training throughout the province. Park assessments for Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland and the BC Interior are on the horizon.
“People with disabilities want to go outdoors, and we want to experience the beauty of our parks,” says Access North Project Manager Pat Harris. “We’ve talked to people that have come to a park that is universally designed and they’ve told us that this is the first time in years that they’ve been out and able to enjoy an outdoor experience like this.”
Are you considering a rugged rest stop, wooded stroll or lakeside picnic? Check out our virtual tours or explore the accessibility of parks and rec areas near you!
Accessibility takes forward-thinking, dedication and collaboration. Thanks to the following local governments and community stakeholders, SCI BC’s Access North project was able to assess the accessibility of more than 450 outdoor spaces in North-Central BC, including municipal, provincial and federal parks, recreation sites, and visitor centres. Together, we’re making our outdoor spaces more accessible for everyone!