Future Council projects to employ universal design principles

Universal design principles will be used where possible in the future when Central Coast Council designs places and activities.

Universal design means planning the built environments so that they are usable by a wide range of people, regardless of age, size or disability status.

The decision is part of a new draft Central Coast Disability Inclusion Action Plan 2021-2025 which is on public exhibition from August 16 for community feedback.

Administrator Rik Hart said Council will continue to lead by example so that the needs and rights of people with disability are recognized and catered for.

“Like everyone else, people with disability want to live a meaningful life and be able to participate in all aspects of community life and Council is committed to making this happen,” Hart said.

“Our teams have been working hard to make the Central Coast a great place to live, play and work for everyone, and because they are working closely with those in our community living with disability, their family members and carers, and people working in the disability sector, we know our actions are meaningful and are making a difference.

“The Plan outlines the strategies and actions that Council will put in place over the next four-year period to make the Central Coast more accessible, inclusive and liveable, and I encourage anyone who has an interest to submit their feedback and help shape the future direction of Council’s work in this space. ”

The draft includes education as a focus area after a survey found 41 per cent of carers or people with disabilities on the Coast found they had recently been discriminated against because of disability.

“There needs to be a better understanding in the community about invisible disabilities including autism, dementia, mental illness and sensory disabilities,” Council said.

The latest action plan is the second one.

The first four-year action plan saw Council establish an Access and Inclusion Reference Group made up of people with lived experience of disability.

This group assisted Council in the development and implementation of its plans including a Pedestrian and Access Mobility and Bike Plan to guide footpath improvements.

In the last four years Council has installed 86 bus stops that meet Disability Access Standards and made available beach wheelchairs at 12 patrolled beaches for the community to use as well as beach matting at Umina Beach, Ocean Beach and Toowoon Bay.

Council has hosted an ‘Including You’ sensory tent at key community events which provides free information, equipment such as noise canceling headphones and a calm place for time out.

It has worked with local businesses to help them become more accessible and therefore expand their customer base and with local sports and active recreation providers to help increase participation of people with disabilities in mainstream sport.

Council has improved accessibility at its own facilities including installing: hearing loops in administration buildings and at The Erina Center; an adjustable dual height service counter at Erina Library; an Accessible Adult Change Facility at Gosford Olympic Pool, plus other accessibility upgrades to Peninsula Leisure Center, Wyong Pool and Lake Haven Leisure Center.

It has ensured Companion Cards are accepted at all Council venues that charge an entrance fee and provided Auslan interpreted theater performances at Laycock St Community Theater.

It has partnered with key organizations including Central Coast ARAFMI, Musicians Making a Difference and Ability Links to raise awareness about access and inclusion, and Mental Health as an invisible disability.

The draft Central Coast Disability Inclusion Action Plan 2021-2025 will be available from August 16 on Council’s consultation hub at yourvoiceourcoast.com.

Agenda, Central Coast Council meeting, Aug 10
Media release, Aug 10
Central Coast Council

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