Nelson City councillors experienced first-hand what it’s like to move around the community while affected by sight or hearing loss, shortness of breath and limited mobility.
This morning they were joined by members of the Accessibility 4 All Forum and spent an hour in the city experiencing a variety of simulations, before discussing their experiences and talking with forum members about the importance of accessibility.
Councillors used wheelchairs, mobility scooters, crutches, glasses that replicate sight loss, earmuffs and straws (to mimic restricted breathing), while visiting popular places around the city including Queens Gardens, the library and a supermarket, to see for themselves the challenges that each venue provides.
“We are aware that we have a growing number of older people in our community. This gives councillors an opportunity to experience the challenges they face first-hand. This will help us to consider how current and future infrastructure may need to change to meet those challenges,” says Works and Infrastructure Committee deputy chair Stuart Walker. “We have already altered the way we install driveways across footpaths to make them as even as possible, we’re providing lower counters in our customer service centre and libraries and we have kneeling buses operating. We have added extra accessible carparks in Trafalgar Street for those who can’t walk very far but we always need to keep thinking about what more can be done.”