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Council calls on disability community for help

Council calls on disability community for help

Hutt City Council is seeking expert advice on how to make the city a more welcoming place for people living with disability.

It is calling on people with a lived experience of disability to consider applying for a place on a soon-to-be established Accessibility and Inclusiveness Advisory Group.

The group will advise councillors on issues that directly impact the disability community such as accessibility and usability of Council services and facilities, access to public transport and outdoor spaces and how to make getting around the city easier. The group will play a central role in implementing and achieving the outcomes outlined in Council’s Accessibility and Inclusiveness Plan 2017-2027.

Hutt City Council Divisional Manager Strategy and Planning Wendy Moore says the group will provide a fresh and important perspective around the design and implementation of services, facilities and infrastructure.

It is estimated 24 per cent of Kiwis identity themselves as being disabled, translating to around 24,400 people in Lower Hutt. This proportion jumps to 59 per cent for those aged 65 or over. Maori and Pacific people have higher than average disability rates.

“This is a very significant proportion of our residents – a group whose perspectives on how to navigate the city and access services and amenities have, on occasion, been overlooked in the past,” she says.

“It is important that all Lower Hutt residents have an equal opportunity to enjoy our city.”

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Accessibility and Inclusiveness Advisory Group members will need to have a living experience of disability, a firm understanding of the issues facing the disability community, be able to represent and communicate with the disability community and represent a range of ages, impairment and ethnicities.

To make applying easier for people with a learning disability, Council has provided an easy-read version of the application form, only the second council in New Zealand to offer this form of assistance.

People can apply by going to huttcity.govt.nz/accessibility or application forms (including an easy read version) are available at:
- Hutt City Council’s Main Building, 30 Laings Road, Lower Hutt (opposite the Dowse Art Gallery) or
- Autism NZ office, 20 Sydney Street, Petone, Lower Hutt
- Application forms can be returned to the above offices or posted to Hutt City Council, Private Bag 31-912, Lower Hutt 5040.

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