Community ACCESS-ability Program--Cape Breton Region

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

June 1, 2001 2:00 PM

Nova Scotia’s Community ACCESS-ability Program is making a
difference for seniors and people with disabilities at Sydney’s
Southend Community Centre.

The non-profit community centre provides recreational and leisure
activities in addition to helping other non-profit organizations.
An outreach program at the centre, run by the Community Involved
for the Disabled, caters directly to people with disabilities. It
provides job opportunities by helping with job searches and by
holding workshops on topics like resume writing.

Chairman Rick Fraser found out about the program on the Internet
and called Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations for more
information. The centre’s application covered improvements to the
centre''s washroom.

"In the community we have a number of individuals who have
disabilities that use the building on a regular basis," said Mr.
Fraser.

"We knew we had to upgrade the existing washrooms in the
building. The washrooms were designed in 1952 as part of the
building''s original plans. They didn’t meet the requirements for
barrier-free accessibility."

Sponsor organizations, such as the centre, can receive $2 from
the province for every dollar raised. Donations of labour and
materials can be included in the sponsor’s share, which makes it
easier for municipalities and community organizations to raise
their portion.

Community ACCESS-ability was designed to help non-profit groups
and municipalities eliminate barriers and open public facilities
to a wider range of people. The four-year, cost-sharing grant
program will invest $1.2 million in upgrading public buildings
and facilities. Wheelchair ramps and lifts, accessible washrooms
and automatic doors are just a few examples of the improvements
made to community halls, recreational facilities, municipal
offices and other locations.

"There is a significant need for this kind of program and we’ve
been overwhelmed with the enthusiastic response," said Angus
MacIsaac, Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal
Relations. "We have made important investments in making the
province more inclusive and more open to all Nova Scotians; we
will continue to do so."

Elsie Cholette, provincial co-ordinator of the Nova Scotia League
for Equal Opportunities, agrees that the Community ACCESS-ability
Program is making a difference. Ms. Cholette says, "The
government is creating a better stage for equity for people with
disabilities."

With the help of Service Nova Scotia, the Southend Community
Centre is better able to offer services and training to people
with disabilities.

Mr. Fraser thinks the program is a good opportunity for non-
profit organizations to make their buildings more accessible to
all facets of the community. "It was great for us to have access
to funding for this kind of work. Otherwise, the improvements may
not have been done for a long time."

Community ACCESS-ability has just wrapped up its first year and
it has been a success. The recently announced 2001 funding
brought the total number or supported projects to 87, worth
almost $600,000.

"We’re halfway home but there’s still a lot to be done," said Mr.
MacIsaac. "We''re looking forward to receiving more applications
and to eliminating more barriers."

Applications are available from Access Nova Scotia Centres, on
the Service Nova Scotia Web site at www.gov.ns.ca/snsmr or
through the toll-free number 1-800-670-4357.

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Contact: Kevin Finch
         Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations
         902-424-2733
         E-mail: finchkh@gov.ns.ca

        

ddo         June 1, 2001        2:10 P.M.