November 15, 2007
Media Release

York Region demonstrates strong commitment to improving access for residents with disabilities

Eighty-one per cent of initiatives to enhance accessibility are completed or underway
 
NEWMARKET – York Regional Council today received a progress report detailing the successful implementation of Towards Accessibility, York Region’s 2007 accessibility plan, which highlights how internal departments and York Regional Police Services are working to identify, remove and prevent barriers to people with disabilities.  It also details the development of the Region’s 2008 accessibility plan.
 
“The Regional Municipality of York is committed to providing access to Regional facilities and services for all residents,” said York Region Chairman and CEO Bill Fisch.  “Our mission to build strong, caring and safe communities includes responding to the needs of our residents with disabilities.”
 
Eighty-five accessibility initiatives are included in the 2007 plan.  Of these, 29 per cent are completed, 52 per cent are underway and 19 per cent are planned for initiation.
 
“The actions underway enable individuals with disabilities to lead more independent and rewarding lives,” said Town of Georgina Regional Councillor Danny Wheeler, Chair of the York Region Accessibility Advisory Committee.  “Improved access to York Region Transit and Viva are just some of the ways increased accessibility can make it easier for our residents with disabilities to move around the Region.”
 
The York Region Administrative Centre’s north parking lot was recently reconstructed to improve accessibility for individuals with disabilities.  The project improved the number, size and proximity of accessible parking spaces and provided a safer crosswalk.  A new building entrance features sub-surface heating coils to prevent ice build up in the winter.
 
“Towards Accessibility engages our residents in order to raise awareness of the unique challenges faced by people with disabilities,” said Town of Richmond Hill Regional Councillor Brenda Hogg, Chair of the Region’s Community Services and Housing Committee.  “Through community outreach and education, we are eliminating misconceptions and enriching our communities.”
 
The Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001 requires municipalities to develop an annual accessibility plan.
 
Planning for the 2008 plan is well underway and will incorporate the same themes as our previous four accessibility plans.  It will be integrated into the Region’s 2008 business planning and budget cycle.
 
A copy of Towards Accessibility is available on the Region’s website at www.york.ca under “Regional Spotlight.”  The plan is available in print or in alternative formats such as large print or on CD, on request.
 
For more information on The Regional Municipality of York and our services, please visit www.york.ca.
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Media Contact: Jonathan MacMull, Corporate Communications, York Region
 Phone: 905 830-4444 or toll free 1-877-464-9675, ext. 1207
 Email: jonathan.macmull@york.ca

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