Accessibility Awareness Recognition awards handed out by City

By Lindsay Advocate

Kawartha Conservation was one of the winners of an accessibility award.

Accessibility for all. This simple statement has inspired many to work towards a barrier-free Kawartha Lakes. From rethinking the design of a building to hosting programs for the elderly, accessibility can be celebrated and encouraged in many ways throughout Kawartha Lakes.

Each year, to honour the efforts of those working towards a more accessible municipality, Kawartha Lakes recognizes residents, organizations and employees at the Accessibility Awareness Recognition Awards.

During a Council meeting on June 18, Accessibility Awareness Recognition Awards were presented to various members of the community by the Accessibility Advisory Committee. The nine recipients of the Accessibility Awareness Recognition Awards are individuals, groups and businesses within Kawartha Lakes who are dedicated to accessibility issues through promoting accessibility for all and contributing to accessible design and education.

“Accessibility is integral to the Kawartha Lakes lifestyle,” said Barb Condie, Accessibility Coordinator. “All of our award winners have enhanced the accessibility, independence and inclusion for people with disabilities within our municipality. It is important that we celebrate and recognize the significant contribution that they have made toward the goal of a barrier-free Kawartha Lakes.”

“The municipality is proud to have such outstanding individuals, groups, businesses and employees that work to create a more accessible Kawartha Lakes,” said Mayor Andy Letham. “Thank you to all the award recipients for their dedication to accessibility.”

This year’s recipients are as follows:

Outstanding Contribution—Business

Appleseed Quiltworks

Appleseed Quiltworks is a local business example of what creating accessible spaces can do for customer and tourist attraction.

Sandra Falconer, owner, went above and beyond with the modifications of the property. She made the difficult decision to reduce retail footage to install a fully accessible covered entryway and accessible door.

A customer has been so impressed with the accessibility features of Appleseed Quiltworks that she travels past several quilt and fabric stores to make the hour plus trip to Lindsay. This customer along with friends and family now make Lindsay a destination for their day trips.

Outstanding Contribution – Community Group

Community Care City of Kawartha Lakes

Community Care City of Kawartha Lakes offers many services for residents throughout our area. Included in these services are Adult Day programs that allow elderly and disabled residents to come together and socialize as well as participate in various activities at the same time giving their caregivers respite. Other programs include Meals on Wheels and other food programs that allow residents to enjoy healthy food in their own homes. Foot care clinics are also held weekly for elderly and persons with disabilities.

Community Care along with Hospice CKL conducts a variety of support groups, both in person and by tele-conferences for residents facing stroke, cancer diagnoses and more.

Another valuable service that is available to residents is the transportation program. Volunteer drivers can be booked to take clients to day programs and appointments, allowing the clients to preserve their independence.

The Specialized Transportation use a fleet of wheelchair accessible vans that offer the same service to individuals with physical and/or cognitive challenges. The vans can also be used for non-emergency transfers between hospitals and home.

The transportation programs of Community Care allow clients independence and caregivers much needed rest and relaxation.

Community Care City of Kawartha Lakes is definitely breaking down barriers for residents with disabilities.

Rotary Club of Lindsay

The Rotary Club of Lindsay is one of the community’s longest running and most active service clubs, supporting a wide range of local, national and international causes throughout the year. Included in the club’s many great works, is the Adults with Disabilities Committee which considers requests for assistance from local residents who require support due to special needs and challenges.

Recently, through collaboration of several groups and organizations including the Rotary, a local resident, Ken, was able to receive a technological device to assist him to read. The OrCam02 is an advanced wearable Artificial Intelligence device for the blind and visually impaired that allows the user to read text, recognize faces and identify products.

The Rotary Club was able to provide a portion of the price of the device but their assistance didn’t stop there. Under the leadership of the Committee Chair John Coxon, other organizations were contacted and the funds were raised to purchase the device. Ken is now able to access so much more and it is making a huge difference in his life.

The Rotary Club is dedicated to helping residents meet the challenges and to remove barriers to their independence and capabilities.

Outstanding Contribution – Individual, Adult

Margaret Downing

For almost 25 years Margaret has been making the lives of Caressent Care residents better. No matter what she is organizing, she is always thinking about ways to include the most residents as possible. Whether that means searching out large print bingo or playing cards, or ensuring that transportation to the events is accessible, Margaret goes beyond so the residents can have a great time.

Margaret thinks about who will be involved in an activity and then thinks about all the obstacles and possible solutions.

As two residents said, “It may not seem like much to have a larger print bingo card but for many of us it is the only way we can join in the fun.”

Margaret is making the lives of the residents much more enjoyable and fun-filled.

Outstanding Contribution – City of Kawartha Lakes Employee

Communications, Advertising and Marketing Division

In 2018, the Communications, Advertising and Marketing team concluded its significant efforts to oversee the complete overhaul of the municipality’s four major websites including the municipal site, tourism, public library and intranet employee sites. From the onset, the team emphasized the need for accessibility on all sites to reduce barriers for anyone using the sites.

The team made accessible documents on the sites a priority and to that end, have provided resources to staff and contributors on how to make accessible electronic documents. New webpages and site features were designed in an accessible manner and the team’s oversight of staff modification of existing pages ensures all final versions are published correctly. This aspect of the project is no small task and the team’s efforts have gone a long way in ensuring that a corporate atmosphere of accessibility is promoted.

Brenda Stonehouse

Brenda has been instrumental in facilitating the public consultations and committee liaisons for the successful and inclusive preparation and acceptance of the most recent Kawartha Lakes Accessibility Plan.

In addition, Brenda is working to provide a comprehensive review of the Built Environment standards for the municipality through her facilitation of the Built Environment Standards Task Force.

Through Brenda’s leadership and facilitation, the internal and external customers have been heard. Brenda has been a champion in facilitating involvement by all community partners related to Kawartha Lakes’ customer service delivery.

Outstanding Contribution – Design

Pie Eyed Monk Brewery

The Pie Eyed Monk Brewery is a new business in Lindsay and their facility located on Cambridge Street exemplifies the possibilities for accessibility in an older building when businesses are motivated.

While keeping the heritage of the building, the accessible features are impressive. The changes start at the front door with an accessible walkway, wide door that has push button capabilities.

An elevator was installed to allow access to the second floor where you’ll find washrooms, all fitted with push buttons and wide entrances. To ensure that all customers would be comfortable, tables were made to an accessible height allowing patrons in wheelchairs to be able to comfortably eat in the restaurant.

Many times, accessibility is said to be impossible for heritage buildings but The Pie Eyed Monk Brewery has proven naysayers wrong.

Kawartha Conservation

Kawartha Conservation is a watershed based, non-profit organization founded in 1979, one of 36 conservation authorities in Ontario.

Kawartha Conservation believes that nation should be accessible to everyone and the organization has taken significant steps in recent years to focus on creating a more inclusive environment where everyone, irrespective of any challenges they may face, are able to enjoy, appreciate and embrace nature.

Throughout 2017 and 2018, a number of upgrades to the administration building and the Ken Reid Conservation Area have created a wonderful environment for those in the community, particularly with mobility challenges, to be welcomed to the area and enjoy the outdoors.

Accessible washrooms at the beach area and in the administration building have been installed. As a result of a generous private donation, the McLaren Marsh viewing platform was re-constructed as well as a fully accessible platform which is connected to the main road through a newly constructed accessible trail. To allow guests to visit the Conservation Area conveniently, two accessible parking spaces have been built.

In early fall 2018 the first participant using a wheelchair joined staff on a forest bathing excursion. The accessible trail and viewing platform allowed the visitor to be fully involved and take part in the session.

These projects are just the beginning that the Kawartha Conservation have planned to ensure that they are an inclusive organization welcoming everyone to experience, embrace and enjoy nature.

Barbara McArthur Memorial Award of Distinction

Stephen Strangway

For over 12 years, Stephen has inspired and shared his paramount leadership skills with Kawartha Lakes and is being recognized today for his true compassion for others.

With a career background as a school principal, he is a leader who has openness to people, ideas and opportunities. He communicates with sincerity, transparency and true feeling, and one is never worried to approach him with your thoughts, ideas and visions. He cleverly inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and embrace the concept of change.

Whether he was involved in formulating recommendations from the Accessibility Advisory Committee to Council, tasked with speaking to municipal staff to resolve an issue or advocating at the Council table, he did so with a strong and clear commitment to the change necessary to improve the lives all people; the youth, couples raising a family, those living in poverty, those living with disabilities or the aged.

Steve was a Board Member of the Fenelon Falls Independent Living Association (FAILA), a member of the Probus Club and a part of 10 Committees/Boards of Council. He kept himself very busy – as I am sure his wife Marion of 50 years can attest to -however, he always made time to not only attend Accessibility Advisory Committee meetings but also participate in meetings held by the Public Awareness Working Group. He was instrumental in the achievement of workplan goals. Steve inspired other committees and boards to think about accessibility when developing programs, policy or working on projects. By doing this he was creating a culture of accessibility throughout our organization and community that is evident today.

Steve has currently retired from his political career to spend more time enjoying his family life with Marion, son Jim, daughter Sarah, and three grandchildren, but not without first providing a foundation that will lead us well into the future towards the goal of being the most welcoming, accessible and inclusive community in Ontario. One where people will be able to live, work and visit with comfort, respect and dignity.

Today we recognize Steve for his twelve years of leadership and support as Council Liaison by presenting him with the Barbara McArthur Award of Distinction. The Committee is forever grateful for the contribution he has made.

Over the past 12 years, more than 77 individuals, businesses and designs have been recognized for their outstanding contribution to accessibility in Kawartha Lakes. Thank you to all who are working towards creating a barrier-free Kawartha Lakes.

To learn more about Accessibility in Kawartha Lakes, visit the municipal website.

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