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SunLive – Creating an accessible Tauranga for everybody

Rising up in Rotorua because the oldest of 5 siblings, Nick Chester has all the time had a ardour for equality and equity.

This ardour has carried him all through his life and profession, and after lately shifting to Tauranga together with his companion Dani, he has began working at Tauranga Metropolis Council in incapacity points within the Group Improvement workforce.

“I have been fortunate to work with many neighborhood teams and people who wish to be sure individuals with disabilities and older individuals can dwell full and completely happy lives in our communities.

“Working alongside individuals with lived expertise of incapacity is so necessary to understanding the on a regular basis difficulties and boundaries they face.”

Caring for others got here early to Nick, who from a younger age noticed it as his responsibility to assist his mum take care of his youthful siblings, together with a brother with a studying incapacity.

“In these days, you simply obtained on with life. He was by no means identified with something, and we did not even actually know what that meant. We simply set our household up in a manner that supported him. I by no means needed him to be not noted or really feel excluded,” says Nick.

These days, ensuring nobody feels excluded within the wider Tauranga neighborhood is what will get him off the bed within the morning, and he is excited to see Council and the neighborhood taking motion collectively to enhance bodily entry to all of Tauranga Moana’s locations and areas.

“Most of us are blind to seeing boundaries however when you begin seeing them, you may’t cease seeing them.

“I is perhaps in Raglan getting espresso and I will discover issues like tactiles on footpaths, or {that a} door’s too heavy. If we construct a metropolis that works for individuals with disabilities, it should work for everybody.”

Work on that metropolis is already underway, for instance, having seashore entry mats out there, putting in accessible picnic tables at widespread areas throughout town and offering seashore wheelchairs to assist individuals with disabilities take pleasure in days out on the seashore with buddies and whānau.

One other undertaking underway is the Te Kaiwhakatere Trailrider Enjoyable Daygoing down on December 3 at Hopukiore – Mount Drury Reserve.

This occasion celebrates Worldwide Day of Individuals with Disabilities by offering a motorized, all-terrain wheelchair to assist individuals who expertise restricted mobility to journey to the summit of Mauao.

“Most of us take the view from the highest of Mauao with no consideration, however there are various individuals in our communities who can solely dream about being on the summit. Being a part of enabling these individuals to meet that dream, seeing the grins and pleasure on their faces, is what makes my job so worthwhile,” says Nick.

To maintain the momentum going, Nick is now working in a strategic function, creating an Motion and Funding Plan which can set out what actions we have to take collectively to proceed break down the boundaries that exclude individuals and may depart them feeling they do not belong.

“In essence, the Accessible Tauranga Motion and Funding Plan is about making a extra accessible metropolis for everybody,” says Nick.

“Tauranga has an growing older inhabitants and a rising variety of individuals residing with a incapacity. By eradicating boundaries similar to having higher entry to info that the Council offers, extra accessible parking and the supply of know-how that may allow individuals with disabilities to totally have interaction; these are key to creating this metropolis work for everybody.

“And whereas it is necessary to get the purposeful facet of issues proper for town, Nick says the incapacity neighborhood has a proper to have entry to the enjoyable stuff too. His profession highlights embody watching an individual with an sickness and unable to stroll utilizing a seashore wheelchair to splash her toes within the water.

“I need everybody to have the chance to guide a full and completely happy life,” he says.

“We’re already doing plenty of work on creating an accessible metropolis, however what else is lacking? What are the gaps? How will we guarantee maximizing accessibility turns into a part of all people’s on a regular basis pondering?”

To share your ideas and concepts about making Tauranga extra accessible for everybody, take the motion and funding plan survey at www.tauranga.govt.nz/actionplan

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