Submitted by Len Friesen
“It is so wonderful to see the efforts being made to make this playground accessible for all children.” That was the reaction of Anna Kleinschmidt, a frequent visitor to the area, on first seeing the new swing installed at the beachfront in Lion’s Head.
The swing, which got its first workout about a month ago, is actually the second accessible swing that has been installed in the playground, and compliments the “Mobi-mat” and accessible washrooms that are already on-site.
What’s behind it all? The Municipality of the North Bruce Peninsula (MNBP) is responding to new provincial legislation calling for full accessibility for all Ontarians by 2025. So the MNBP Council, along with input from the Accessibility Coordinator, has already identified key barriers that need to be removed, and which new aids need to be installed. But ultimately this is about much more than legislation and mandates.
“Few causes matter more to me than this one”, says Mayor Milt McIver. “We’re not doing our job as a Municipality unless we’re doing it for everyone.”
Expect more changes in the years to come, from signage, to parking, to employment accommodation, to revised building codes, to increased training for staff. Those from outside the region have expressed amazement at how quickly things get done here when the need and solution are both identified.
Cathy Addison, Accessibility Coordinator for the Municipality, puts it this way: “I truly believe if you can help and/or assist with making someone’s life a little easier and less stressful, that’s what life is all about. There is nothing more heartwarming than seeing a child with a disability being able to participate in activities just like the other children.”
Back at the Lion’s Head playground, Ella Kleinschmidt’s broad smile and exuberant laugh tell all you need to know about her take on the new swing. And surely there’s no better reward than that.