Community ACCESS-ability Program--Halifax County

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

June 1, 2001 11:00 AM

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

The non-profit community centre in Lucasville provides both a key
meeting place for the community and a location for call centre
job training.

Development co-ordinator Douglas Sparks first heard about the
program on the news and went to the Service Nova Scotia and
Municipal Relations Web site for more information. The centre’s
application covered improvements to the centre''s washroom.

"Our washrooms had to be gutted out and reconfigured for
wheelchairs to make them accessible," said Mr. Sparks.

"The cost of the project was close to $15,000; it was a major
undertaking for us," said Mr. Sparks. “The community could not
have completed this project on its own but it could raise enough
funding to qualify for the program.”

Sponsor organizations, like 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 Wallace Lucas Community
Centre is now better able to offer services and training to
people with disabilities. "I think it’s a good program," said Mr.
Sparks, "a way to assist facilities out there that recognize the
need, but do not have the resources to fulfil requirements to
make things accessible."

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        11:07 A.M.