Dec. 11, 2014
By Teresa Latchford
The town will provide the tools needed to increase accessibility and remove barriers to ensure its facilities are inclusive.
Earlier this year, the Town of Aurora’s accessibility advisory committee asked town staff to investigate and report back on what education and devices, including auditory and visual aids, town facilities provide to improve barrier-free access to visually and hearing-impaired residents.
This week, a staff report reiterated the town’s commitment to being inclusive at all facilities and has provided a number of aids and devices to assist those in need.
Aurora is committed to providing equitable treatment to people with disabilities with respect to the use of town programs, a four-page report, written by director of building and bylaw services Techa van Leeuwen stated, adding assistive devices exist within the corporation, specifically for individuals with visual and auditory challenges.
These initiatives include page magnifiers at each department counter, personal listening devices in council chambers, a hearing induction loop system in the Leksand, Holland and Tannery rooms, portable FM assistive device system, documentation provided in different formats, electronic note taking and sign language interpretation for meetings, audible and visual fire alarms and TTY telephone line for the deaf available on the first and second floors of town hall.
Many of the devices and services are duplicated throughout the town’s facilities, including recreation facilities and the Aurora Public Library.
The library also has an adaptive technology workstation featuring JAWS, allowing users to zoom text, scan, write and read with special software and includes a Braille translator. Large print and talking books are also available.
In addition, accessibility training is given to all staff and specific accessible community groups speak at the town’s lunch-and-learn sessions throughout the year, coinciding with themed events such as National Access Awareness Week and International Day of disabilities.
The report also states the town continues to meet the requirements of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, including the installation of audible pedestrian signals at intersections and software enhancements of aurora.ca.
The report was received for information at this week’s general committee meeting at town hall.