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Guide leads the way for a “Barrier-Free” Manukau

8 September 2005

Guide leads the way for a “Barrier-Free” Manukau

On Friday 9 September, Manukau City Council builds on its commitment to work towards a “barrier-free” city with the launch of the Barrier-Free Manukau guide.

The guide - a first by NZ local government- was produced by Council in partnership with CCS Auckland and the Disability Steering Group.

The guide will be used by Council’s planning and regulatory staff and their external contractors to improve access for disabled people within the city.

City Manager Colin Dale, says, “Everyday, people with disabilities experience difficulties because of planning which doesn’t take them into account, for example poor signage, badly designed parking, inadequate lighting, and lack of handrails or ramps that are too steep. These barriers must be brought down.”

“A range of codes and standards on accessibility is in place, but complying with these will not automatically get the best results. Often the people element is overlooked. Even very small adjustments can make a huge difference for disabled people, for example the colour or texture of paving slabs. The guide addresses these issues by promoting best practice design principles.”

Barrier-Free Manukau recognises that a city that is barrier-free benefits everyone, not just disabled people.

The guide also covers relevant legislation, key factors for consideration, highlighted with images of best practice and bad practice, and contact details of specialists in the field. More than just a vital reference, the guide is intended as a tool with clear checklists for project planners, and is designed to be easily updated. The Council plans to engage barrier-free auditors to provide training in the use of the guide for staff and external contractors.

To ensure things are done right first time, the guide recommends that developers consider how designs and alterations impact on the 20% of the Manukau population who are disabled. The guide also recommends that disabled people are closely involved and advise on individual Council projects.

The Barrier-Free Manukau guide will be launched by Tanumafili Toso, Vice Chair of Council’s Disability Steering Group, Vivian Naylor of CCS Auckland and Colin Dale, City Manager. The event will take place in the Gallery at Manukau City Council Civic Building at 1.00pm, Friday 9 September. Media are welcome to attend.

ENDS


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