With a few clicks, you could help remove accessibility barriers in Collingwood.
While Dec. 3 marks International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the Town of Collingwood has also started a collaboration with accessibility app AccessNow, a platform that maps accessibility locally and globally, and the crowdsourced app could use the help of Collingwood residents and business owners to contribute to mapping out accessibility around town.
Anyone with the app can review and rate locations around town for their accessibility and features such as wheelchair ramps and accessible washrooms.
The idea for a collaboration was initially brought to the town’s accessibility advisory committee by member Robyn Sheldon.
“When I was living in Toronto, one of my colleagues was part of an app called AccessTO,” Sheldon told CollingwoodToday.ca. “I work with clients with disabilities, and it was great for them because they could plan to go out for dinner or go to an event in town and they could pre-check which restaurants they could or couldn’t go to rather than just showing up and finding they can’t even get into the building.”
“It reduces those barriers so they can plan their events,” she said.
Sheldon said she started researching to see if she could find something similar that expanded beyond Toronto’s borders to bring the service to Collingwood, which is how she came across AccessNow.
With the AccessNow mobile app and web platform, people can search for places in their community based on levels of accessibility such as accessible parking and washrooms, whether they’re service-animal friendly or have automatic doors. The app features more than 260,000 locations in 34 countries around the world.
Collingwood's accessibility advisory committee gave its full support to the idea.
Now under the collaboration, many Town of Collingwood facilities are on the app, as well as some local businesses and public buildings.
“Our goal is to [reduce] barriers in the community,” said Sheldon. “We’re hoping businesses will contribute, or maybe it can be part of school projects for community service hours where, if students are maybe going out to a restaurant with their family, they could look around and note what they have and maybe ask the shop owner.”
“It’s a good way to get involved in your community,” she said.
The AccessNow app is free to use and is available on The App Store and Google Play. To learn more, click here.