July 4, 2016
JULY 4, 2016 | A new marketing initiative aims to showcase Northern B.C.’s accessible recreation sites in an effort to help more disabled people enjoy the region’s outdoor amenities. The Trust has approved $80,000 through its Marketing Initiatives program to support Spinal Cord Injury BC’s plan to create an online database that showcases the region’s accessible outdoor recreation sites.
Through the Trust’s support, and additional government funding, more than 150 provincial and regional parks, trail systems and roadside heritage attractions in the North will be profiled and rated on their ease of accessibility by 16 EI-eligible project participants looking to gain employment skills. Parks in eight different regional districts will be included.
Spinal Cord Injury BC is a not-for- profit organization dedicated to helping people with spinal cord injuries, and with related disabilities, adjust, adapt and thrive. Currently there is no central information resource that residents, business and visitors can use to learn about accessible outdoor amenities available in Northern B.C. As a result, improvements to accessibility in northern communities is not widely known, appreciated or celebrated.
The data collected through the 27-week “Access North” project will be used to develop an interactive website to increase awareness of accessibility at northern parks for people with disabilities.
Throughout the project, participants will also promote accessibility in northern B.C.’s parks through eight Access Awareness Days events as well as with information booths set up at several events.
“Access North” supports Accessibility 2024, a 10-year action plan to make B.C. the most progressive province in Canada by 2024 for people with disabilities. A key goal under Accessibility 2024 is to have B.C. recognized as a premier accessible travel destination in North America.
The Access North 2024 project will include:
The goal is to create videos and virtual tours highlighting remarkable examples of access and universal design properties in the region for everyone to benefit.
The Trust’s Marketing Initiatives program provides up to $20,000 in grant funding for marketing projects that strengthen communities and the economy in Northern B.C.
Access North 2024 will promote the region’s accessibility, and encourage more disabled persons to visit and travel through the region, contributing to tourism and local economies.
Evan Saugstad, chair, Northern Development Initiative Trust –
“The Access North project means more people can get outdoors and enjoy what the north has to offer, increasing the number of visitors to our region and supporting healthy lives and a healthy tourism sector. It’s great to see this project get underway.”
Michelle Stilwell, Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation –
“The Access North participants are developing new in-demand skills while helping us improve the accessibility of our parks. Increasing the accessibility awareness for B.C.’s parks is something that will benefit our province’s tourism industry as well as help people with disabilities enjoy our amazing parks and trails. Through Accessibility 2024, we want to be the most progressive province in Canada for helping people with disabilities and this project is another step toward that goal.”
Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour, and MLA for Prince George-Valemount –
“This project is going to give participants work experience that will benefit their search for full-time careers while giving us a much better awareness of the accessibility of the northern parks. The information will allow families and persons with disabilities to find opportunities to enjoy this beautiful part of British Columbia. Thank you to Spinal Cord Injury BC for their leadership and ensuring that improved accessibility is a key priority including in outdoor recreational settings.”
Mike Morris, MLA for Prince George-Mackenzie and Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General –
“BC Parks are some of our finest assets in our part of the province and making sure they are accessible to everyone is vital. With the data this project’s participants compile for us, we will have a great idea of what we have and what we need to work on to continue to make B.C.’s north an eco-tourism destination.”
Chris McBride, executive director, Spinal Cord Injury BC –
“Northern British Columbians are justifiably proud of their work to improve the accessibility of the region’s public recreation spaces, but very few people know about it. Spinal Cord Injury B.C. is thrilled to be partnering with the Province, Northern Development Initiative Trust, and other great supporters to provide employment opportunities for residents of the region while creating a central information resource that will let the world know about the accessible and inclusive outdoor recreation opportunities that exist for all to experience in Northern B.C.”