Increasing Accessibility Awareness in Cobourg

Let's face it - Cobourg has an aging demographic (source). If we are all lucky to live long fulfilling lives, chances are we'll have physical ailments. Be it a limp, loss of vision, dependence on a walker/wheelchair, etc. You can really only fathom the position of being disabled, when you're actually disabled.

That said, I am a strong proponent of barrier-free design. I have travelled the world as a wheelchair user, and can proudly say, we as Canadians should be very proud of Canada's accessibility - Cobourg included. I always refer to Canada as 'Fantasy Island for Wheelchair Users'. Electric door openers, wide doors, large accessible parking spots, negotiable ramps, etc. For anyone that complains about accessibility in Canada and hasn't travelled (besides to the U.S and Australia) - we are spoiled!

More can be done though.. One of my suggestions as a councillor would be to work in conjunction with the accessibility committee to use tools that already exist to highlight physical barriers and accessibility in Cobourg. A wonderful website called 'wheelmap.org' is a great example (they also have smartphone apps). How great it would be for disabled visitors to Cobourg to know what they're to expect in terms of accessibility. Using their smart phone and geolocation, one can simply search for public places, restaurants, businesses, etc. for venues that are accessible (if there were data). 

The best part is that wheelmap is a collobarative effort, much like wikipedia. Anyone can add to accessible (or inaccessible places) to it, add photos and comments. A united effort by the accessibility committee to input data into the website would benefit us all, and then a link on the Town of Cobourg's website to this not-for-profit organization's website with Cobourg's accessibility data would be recommended.

What do you think?!

P.S - Did you know... In Europe you can bring your empty pop bottles, beer cans, water bottles, liquor bottles etc. into most grocery stores? The stores have elaborate machines that automatically detect which type of bottle/can is placed into it and what each is made of by reading a barcode. It quickly and efficiently calculates the government mandated value of the bottle/can (s), and you're issued a credit towards your groceries for each and every bottle (what a great incentive to recycle)!

With your receipt, you can either get the value of all your returned cans/bottles deducted from your grocery bill, or you can deposit the receipt into a donation box. The founders of wheelmap partnered with many large grocery chains, and use the donated bottle/can revenue to finance wheelmap.org

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