Some City Parks Getting Accessibility Makeover

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Good news for Mississauga residents with mobility issues! Several city parks are about to undergo accessibility makeovers, making them more suitable for residents of all ability levels.

The city recently announced that five parks were awarded $50,000 in federal grant money. The money, awarded by Service Canada's Enabling Accessibility Fund (EAF), will allow the city to retrofit the selected playgrounds with accessible features.

The parks that are about to undergo changes are Westacres Park (2166 Westfield Drive), Aquinas Park (3400 Aquinas Drive), Lake Wabukayne Park (6150 Erin Mills Parkway), Churchill Meadows Community Common (north playground - 3370 McDowell Drive) and Mississauga-Meadowvale Rotary Park (3302 Tacc Drive).

"Our goal is to create a sense of belonging in all Mississauga parks to provide inclusive opportunities to enjoy green spaces, parks and trails for residents of all abilities," says Laura Piette, Parks & Forestry Director at the City of Mississauga. "The city has already incorporated accessible design standards into a number of new playgrounds which has had positive impacts on the community. We are incorporating accessible playground equipment into all of our play sites as we redevelop them."

Piette says that park accessibility is something the city has wanted to get in front of for awhile.

"Since 2013, we've tried to think about it when developing or redeveloping playgrounds," she says. "We try to include accessibility and accessible routes. The community is very supportive of it because people want children of all abilities to be able to play in the same place. A special swing can allow a child to play with their friends."

The city currently has over 264 playgrounds and 60 have improved accessibility features. Three are fully-accessible, and they include Zonta Meadows (4010 Rathburn Rd. W.), O' Connor Park (3570 Bala Drive) and Port Credit Memorial Park (20 Lakeshore Rd. E.). The five parks that are about to retrofitted will soon feature accessible swings, ramps and wood mulch safety surfacing.

"Some of the work has already begun and the parks should be completed by the summer," Piette says.

As to whether or not more parks will undergo renos, the city hopes the federal and provincial governments will continue to invest in accessible parks and playgrounds. Piette also said that community groups or associations who want to help with funding are welcome to come forward.

"By making our playgrounds more safe and accessible, we can enrich children's lives by giving them the ability to have fun, play, be active, make friends and be social regardless of their abilities."

For more information on the city's accessibility plan and design standards visit: mississauga.ca/file/COM/City_Of_Mississauga_Facility_Accessibility_Design_Standards.pdf

For more information about Mississauga parks visit: mississauga.ca/parks.

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