The Community ACCESS-ability Program in Guysborough County

Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations (to March 31, 2014)

October 4, 2002 12:30 PM

The following is a feature story from Service Nova Scotia and
Municipal Relations on grants provided through the Community
ACCESS-ability program to community groups in Guysborough County.

Community activities and services in Guysborough County are more
accessible to seniors and people with disabilities because of
help from Nova Scotia's Community ACCESS-ability program.

Renovations to the Mulgrave Public Library, including a new
wheelchair ramp, accessible doorway and washroom, will be
completed by late fall. Employees in the library are looking
forward to the renovations and the benefit they will provide
people in the community.

"Right now, the library itself is not accessible," said David
Cumby, acting chief executive officer of the Eastern Counties
Regional Library. "People with disabilities can get into the
library through another building, but that building isn't open
all the time. On evenings and weekends, when the accessible
building is closed, staff have to go unlock the door to help them
get inside."

Joyce Oliver-Snair is the branch library assistant. She believes
that the few services available in small communities must be
accessible to everyone.

"The library is a place where people come together," said Ms.
Oliver-Snair. "If community buildings are not accessible, people
can't even think about using free services, like the Internet
access we have here at the library."

Community ACCESS-ability was implemented to improve access to
community facilities for seniors and people with disabilities.
The program provides financial assistance to non-profit groups
and municipalities for renovations, installations, or equipment
to ensure that buildings are accessible to all Nova Scotians.

The Isaac's Harbour Baptist Church Hall received a grant to
install a ramp at the entrance of the hall, renovations that have
been completed.

"The ramp is really great and it's going to make a big
difference," said Audrey Cook, clerk and treasurer of the Isaac's
Harbour church and hall. "This was a thriving community at one
time. There are lots of elderly people here now, and this is the
only facility in town for community events."

The hall is used for many functions, including wedding and
anniversary receptions, polling stations for elections, gospel
concerts, community flea markets, dinners, bake sales and family
reunions.

"There is one family who uses the hall for yearly get togethers,"
said Ms. Cook. "Before the ramp was installed, family members in
wheelchairs stayed home because they couldn't get into the
building. Now they'll be able to get in."

Under the program, the provincial government gives grants of up
to two-thirds of the cost of renovations, installations and
equipment. Local organizations are responsible for raising the
remainder of the cost. The maximum grant available for individual
projects is $10,000.

"We want to help seniors and people with disabilities enjoy equal
access to places that are the heart and soul of their
communities," said Angus MacIsaac, Minister of Service Nova
Scotia and Municipal Relations. "These are places where local
people plan, participate and celebrate as a community."

The program has been operating since May 2000. This is the third
year of the four-year $1.2-million program, and all funding for
this fiscal year has been committed. To date, the program has
supported 139 projects, worth about $900,000, of which a third
was distributed in 2002.

Information and applications are available from Access Nova
Scotia centres, the Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations
Web site at www.gov.ns.ca/snsmr/ or by calling the toll-free
number 1-800-670-4357.

-30-

Contact: Karen Ramsland
         Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations
         902-424-7798
         kramslan@gov.ns.ca

         David MacNeil
         Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations
         902-424-6336
         E-mail: macneidf@gov.ns.ca

NOTE: The following is a list of projects approved
under the Community ACCESS-ability program for Guysborough and
Antigonish counties since the program began in 2000.

Antigonish County
-- Monastery Community Ball Field, Monastery: $3,253
-- Tracadie United Baptist Church Community Centre, Monastery:
$3,294

Guysborough County
-- Bickerton Community Centre, Bickerton West: $1,800
-- District of St. Mary's Lions Club, Sherbrooke: $2,062
-- Isaac's Harbour Baptist Church Hall, Guysborough: $2,359
-- Mulgrave Public Library, Mulgrave: $9,873
-- Mulgrave Volunteer Fire Hall, Mulgrave: $10,000
-- St. Luke's Parish Hall, Liscomb: $1,996



kjd         October 4, 2002         12:26 P.M.