Mayor Sam Broughton and Ministry of Social Development principal disability adviser Anne Hawker at the signing of the charter

Council commits to accessibility for all

by Mike Isle

Selwyn District Council is the first New Zealand local government authority to sign an accessibility charter.

Mayor Sam Broughton signed the Te Arataki Taero Kore Accessible Selwyn Charter at a ceremony on Monday attended by disability groups and organisations.

The charter commits the council to work in four key areas of leadership, education, technical expertise and health and wellbeing. It sets a path for the local authority to build on steps it has already taken in accessibility, such as equipment and classes at the Selwyn Aquatic Centre to assist people with access to the pool.

The design of the Rolleston Town Centre and Te Ara Atea also includes accessibility elements including parking space, wayfinder markers for people with visual impairments, sensory features and a quiet room. The charter and the council’s Accessibility Action Plan adopted at the same time is the beginning of an ongoing commitment to all Selwyn residents, Broughton said.

“It’s a start. We’re not going to be perfect at the very beginning, but by 2025 we want to be well down the road and by 2030 — this will look different again.

“It is a document that has been designed for Selwyn and needs to be flexible to meet the needs of our community.

“Diversity strengthens our community and this document is part of the council’s commitment to lead on issues of making Selwyn a great place to live for people of all abilities.”