The Access & Age-friendly committee in Lake Country has helped the municipality to provide leadership in improving accessibility.
“We’re pleased to welcome Arlene Brenner as a new volunteer member of the Access & Age-friendly committee,” said Marie Molloy, AAFC Chair. “Arlene uses American Sign Language (ASL) as her primary means of communication, and we were very pleased the municipality arranged for a certified sign language interpreter for our meeting this week that included a facility site tour of the Winfield Arena – one of the high use public buildings.”
The role of the AAFC is to advise Council on issues pertaining to enhancing access to District services for people of all ages and abilities.
The committee acts as a resource in identifying and suggesting solutions to gaps and barriers that impede full participation in all aspects of life in the community.
“The committee has made various recommendations to Council on ways that municipal facilities and infrastructure could be improved to increase accessibility,” said Greg Buchholz, director of Infrastructure Services and staff liaison to the AAFC. “Recommendations are either considered within the annual budget process, or where immediate cost-effective solutions can be implemented, action is taken as soon as staff time and resources can be allocated to the item or issue.”
“The committee took a few photos of sidewalk concerns and shared them with the engineering director. Before the photos and a report could even be included on a Council meeting agenda, the engineering works crew fixed some of the deficiencies we observed,” said Molloy. “It really highlighted to me the value of participating on a volunteer committee. Sometimes recommendations can’t be acted on immediately and that can be frustrating to someone who is volunteering time and energy to make their community better.
"But I’ve been impressed with what has been accomplished by this small group of volunteers in conjunction with Council and municipal staff within a reasonable timeframe and with public resources to benefit of everyone in the community.”
Another area where the AAFC input provides value is in informing and educating our infrastructure team at the design stage so that solutions can best consider the needs of all members of our community.