The City of Delta should try to enhance physical accessibility through the built environment and support social inclusion through the elimination of barriers for people with different abilities in Delta.
That’s one of the lengthy list of objectives identified in the recently released draft of the city’s new Social Action Plan.
The report notes that potential actions for the city to undertake include developing a City Accessibility Plan to identify, prevent and remove barriers that may affect people with different abilities from participating fully in their day-to-day activities in Delta.
The report also notes that among the ongoing actions underway is a comprehensive accessibility audit of city-owned facilities with a focus on universal design improvements.
The city is to also continue applying an accessibility lens when developing, delivering, seeking input on and promoting city services that accommodate different abilities, as well as for planning processes, including updating the City's Official Community Plan.
Meeting for the first time earlier this year, Delta’s new Mobility and Accessibility Committee was formed to provide advice to city staff on new and existing city infrastructure and programs to support mobility and accessibility throughout the city.
The group includes representation from several municipal departments, six members who live in Delta and experience mobility or accessibility challenges as well two expert representatives.
The committee has been providing input on developments, capital projects with potential mobility and accessibility impacts, as well as opportunities to improve existing infrastructure and programs to meet the needs of people with disabilities.
The action plan notes that various accessibility challenges have been identified in Delta by the committee and other community members.
One of the recommendations from the committee already approved by council this year is a bylaw amendment to increase the accessibility of parking by adding requirements for van accessible parking where accessible parking is required.
Other improvements include the city looking to upgrade the bus stop at 53A Street and 12 Avenue by adding accessible landings.
Meanwhile, B.C.’s Accessible British Columbia Act became law in June 2021.
The provincial government last week announced it has appointed 11 British Columbians as the first members of the Provincial Accessibility Committee, the next step in government's work to remove barriers for people with disabilities in B.C.
Under the Accessible British Columbia Act, the committee's work will include advising government on the implementation of the act, helping government prioritize accessibility standards and overseeing the process of developing standards in areas such as employment, education, transportation and customer service, the province explained.
The Mobility and Accessibility Committee met last week and heard a presentation from provincial officials about the accessibility act.
Council agreed to create the committee last year after a request by Delta resident Vincent Miele, an advocate for the disabled, who said that while it’s good that the Mayor's Task Force on Diversity, Inclusion, and Anti-Racism was created, nowhere was there specific mention about the ongoing erosion of access and discrimination of persons with disabilities through abuse or ignoring the Building Code.
“This includes lack of full wheelchair access to newer public facilities, transportation, housing, proper parking for persons dependent on mobility devices, full serve gas etc. This too is a form of discrimination and should be addressed as we too have been included in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms since 1982,” wrote Miele, now a committee member.