Accessibility at the Sportsplex- lets work together for progress!

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Inclusion Westman is a voluntary not-for-profit organization committed to enriching the lives of persons who live with an intellectual disability by promoting their full inclusion in the community.  Our work benefits not only people with intellectual disabilities, their families, and their caregivers, but also the City of Brandon and Westman.  We are also partnered with the Cerebral Palsy Association, the Westman Autism Support Group as well as the Down Syndrome parent support group. People are rarely aware of barriers to inclusion unless they have the privilege of caring for someone with these specialized needs.  People need to proactively learn about how they can make spaces more accessible. 

One of Inclusion Westman’s 2020 goals is to create a partnership with other advocacy groups which support needs of those living with disabilities and with the City of Brandon, to increase awareness of the barriers that exist in many of its public spaces, so that the City is in better position to plan for solutions that address them.  These barriers are often created by attitudes, lack of awareness, outdated systems, or older infrastructure.  Through this community partnership, it is our hope that barriers to inclusion can be removed or minimized in City managed spaces and services.  We would like to be active partners in identifying needs and working towards feasible solutions.

Our first action is to work with the City of Brandon, the Sportsplex and community members to work collaboratively to find solutions for the many barriers to inclusion that exist at the Sportsplex. 

The City has already identified in its accessibility work under the Accessibility for Manitobans Act many of the legitimate barriers at the Sportsplex, such as:

·       limited accessible parking

·       inaccessible doors

·       no (or non-functioning) handheld showers

·       the absence of accessible washrooms/change rooms that meet diverse needs.  Inaccessible change rooms are especially challenging for teens or adults with intellectual disabilities, who require assistance from one or sometimes more people to support toileting or changing

·       barriers that exist for those who require caregivers (who may be of a different gender of the individual) and teens/adults with disabilities who require change stations that are beyond what presently exist at the city owned facilities today

This list is not exhaustive, but provides examples of significant barriers to many being able to use and enjoy this vital community space. 

The City of Brandon will be entering into budget phases very shortly.  Please show your support for the City of Brandon committing funds to making accessibility a priority at the Sportsplex and for city infrastructure in general.  The hope is that with evidence of community support (in addition to the legislated requirements) the City will be in a better position, in partnership with relevant advocacy groups, to budget, petition and apply for funding that will help create a more inclusive community. 

If you are able, you are also invited to show your support by attending the city council meeting on February 3rd at 7PM. 

For more information, please contact Amanda at 204-573-1210 or by emailing amandadhamm@gmail.com