Accessibility On the Rise in Queen Charlotte

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Despite being incorporated only two years ago, the Village of Queen Charlotte is already making strides to improve accessibility of its public and commercial buildings. A local committee is quickly moving through 2010 Legacies Now's Measuring Up process, which assists communities in identifying priorities to become more accessible and inclusive for people with disabilities, seniors and others.

The Queen Charlotte Measuring Up Committee plans to build two wheelchair-accessible washrooms, one in their public library and one free-standing structure near the community hall. They will also offer an education program for its residents on accessibility, and are planning a computer access and job skill development program for residents with mental disabilities and others.

"We have a number of issues and recognize the need to become more accessible," said Queen Charlotte Measuring Up Committee chair Greg Martin. "Now, we are trying hard to lead by example and encourage business owners to do the same." As an example, he noted only two of the community's nine restaurants can accommodate someone in a wheelchair.

"We have an aging population with changing needs and Measuring Up got us paying attention to this," said Martin. "These projects are also going to help with tourism. I mean, if you can't take care of your own people, how can you invite guests?"

Measuring Up helps communities assess and improve how accessible and inclusive they are for people with disabilities, seniors and others with similar needs. The program includes a fund, established by the Province of BC, which offers grants to communities to complete accessibility-related projects.