Landmark Accessibility Charter signed in Christchurch
A landmark document championing accessibility for everyone, including disabled people, older people and young families, has been signed by organisations responsible for Christchurch’s anchor projects.
Te Arataki Taero Kore o Waitaha: The Accessibility Charter – Canterbury was signed at the Christchurch City Council on 3 November 2017 by foundation signatories Canterbury District Health Board, Christchurch City Council, Development Christchurch Limited, Environment Canterbury Regional Council, Ōtakaro Limited, and Regenerate Christchurch.
Led by Barrier Free NZ Trust (BFNZT) in collaboration with Earthquake Disability Leadership Group (EDLG), the Charter is a challenge to those responsible for the regeneration of Canterbury to go beyond the minimum accessibility compliance requirements of the Building Code and instead aim for public buildings and outdoor spaces that are genuinely accessible and useable for everyone.
Former Paralympian and Disability Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoriero was one of the key speakers at the launch event. “Being able to get around our cities freely and independently is integral to being able to participate fully in society; to go to school and work and engage in leisure activities with family and friends,” says Ms Tesoriero. “The Charter represents an important opportunity to prove to the rest of New Zealand what can be done in Christchurch and the benefits increased access brings to businesses and communities. I look forward to hearing how it progresses.”
The Christchurch City Council has had an internal working group planning the implementation of the Charter across the whole organisation for the last 12 months. Chief Executive Dr Karleen Edwards says “Christchurch City Council is pleased to be a foundation signatory of the Accessibility Charter and is committed to playing its part in improving accessibility for all citizens of Christchurch and visitors”.
The first phase of the Accessibility Charter project is focused on working with key public works developers to implement a plan based on the Charter principles of leadership, education, technical
advice, and health and wellbeing of Cantabrians. BFNZT also expects to collaborate with other groups across the country on the Charter.
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Images available on request.
For more information, or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Barrier Free NZ Trust
021 029 16314