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Accessibility

Anna King speaking at Accessibility Forum

A thriving Victoria is one that is accessible to everyone. We need a barrier-free city that includes those with mobility and other disability challenges. I had a great time at the all-candidates debate about accessibility in early October.

I’m glad I had the opportunity to share about my own struggles with dyslexia and how I often use audio-readers to help. Through my personal research and navigating online resources, so many documents on our official city website were not conducive to audio readers due to being in PDF form. I shared that this in itself was a barrier. Indeed, dyslexia is an invisible disability that easily flies under the radar when it comes to stigma – for that I’m grateful.

When accessibility for ALL are not considered, we exclude entire groups of people in our city. For example, it is extremely difficult for a blind person to navigate across not 1, but 2 directions of bike lanes in order to safely arrive a bus stop on Pandora Street. It wasn’t a malevolent design, but rather it simply wasn’t considered because engineers and decision makers were all able-bodied people.

We need to deliberately ELECT and HIRE people with disabilities so that everyone is included in the design and decisions that make our city awesome.

Stigma is the greatest issue facing those with disabilities. I stood up and shared that I hope we can eliminate the fear associated with living with disabilities — the fear that I’m not good enough or that I won’t get hired for a job. I don’t want anyone feeling less than because we are a collective society where we’re only as free as those who are most vulnerable.

 

I propose:

– Advocating for the adoption of the BC Disabilities Act

– Increasing and removing stigma by actively hiring and electing people with disabilities

– Encouraging development of accessible suites

– Increasing time allotment for crossing intersections

– Use of sign language during key citizen messages and emergency protocol from law enforcement, and government

– Ensuring special needs children get the attention they need rather than being told to enter the private system

– Safer and wider sidewalks for all

– Stop signs on buses and handyDARTs (similar to school buses) to alert cyclists of special needs pedestrian traffic

– Audio signals for intersections

If you want a more inclusive City of Victoria for all, please Vote Anna King on October 20th!