Posted by Sandra Rhodda
23 Dec, 2010
The Canadian Government’s Enabling Accessibility Fund program supports community-based projects across Canada that improve accessibility, remove barriers, and enable Canadians with disabilities to participate in and contribute to their communities. It supports municipal projects that create and enhance accessibility for people with disabilities as well as providing inclusion activities for people to fully participate in community life, socially as well as economically.
Delivered since 2007, the Fund will provide C$45 million over the next three years. One beneficiary of the Fund is the proposed Norman Park development in Kenora, Ontario. Moneys will be used to upgrade the parking lot, walkways, docks, washrooms and the playground to improve accessibility for the elderly, infirm, visually impaired and wheelchair users.
Kenora Economic development committee chairman Coun. Sharon Smith said that the project “is a great opportunity for Kenora, it reduces barriers for people with disabilities to enjoy recreational opportunities in the community.
It conforms to the guiding principles of the Official Plan and the city’s tourism strategy that requires an inclusive approach to recreation and the removal
of barriers with the goal of equal access for all citizens to improve the quality of life.
” By providing more things for people with disabilities to do and see in the community, proponents believe such projects encourage visitors to extend their stays, stimulating economic activity and reinforcing Kenora’s attraction as a tourist destination.
The Norman Park development was originally proposed by city planners in 2009. The project is currently proceeding
with construction of the Lake of the Woods Discovery and Tourist Information Centre supported by a $2.1 million Building Canada grant, representing two-thirds of project costs. The accessibility improvements complement the original concept for the $5.1 million park development, which included a transportation interpretive centre and enhancements to the beach and waterfront area.