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New park in Cornwall gives opportunity for children of all abilities to play together

Anthea Greer, right, and Brielle Larter swing at the Cornwall park on McCarthur Drive, using the new accessible swing built under the accessibility lens program established by the P.E.I. Council of People with Disabilities to create spaces that serve different types of people.
Anthea Greer, right, and Brielle Larter swing at the Cornwall park on McCarthur Drive, using the new accessible swing built under the accessibility lens program established by the P.E.I. Council of People with Disabilities to create spaces that serve different types of people. - Ernesto Carranza
CORNWALL, P.E.I. —

The park boasts two regular swings, one infant swing and one swing especially designed for children with physical, mental or cognitive disabilities.

The latter swing is much larger than the others and has head, back and side support for children who use the swing, as well as a large crossbar to prevent children from falling out.

Devon Broome, employment manager at P.E.I. Council of People with Disabilities, said it presented the disability lens program to town council.

“This (swing) is evidence that the Town of Cornwall is using (the lens) and they are going to use it through all of their planning now,” said Broome.

“They’ve been a great ally for us, whether it is through employment programs or housing. They really do use the disability lens. ”

The wood chips used for the swing set are specifically engineered to help children or adults with wheelchairs to move around the area without difficulty. 

A hard-plastic barrier outlines the entire swing-set and has a wide opening for wheelchairs to get in.

Making the park as accessible and inclusive as possible, said Broome, was the aim of the council and teaching children to be inclusive at a young age.

Children from around the MacArthur Drive area gather to play on the new accessible swing-set. Coun. Corey Frizzell from Cornwall Town Council was present along with Devon Broome, employment manager at P.E.I. Council of People with Disabilities.
Children from around the MacArthur Drive area gather to play on the new accessible swing-set. Coun. Corey Frizzell from Cornwall Town Council was present along with Devon Broome, employment manager at P.E.I. Council of People with Disabilities.

The Council of People with Disabilities hopes to continue implementing the disability lens to all aspects of infrastructure on the Island and in the minds of Islanders.

“The barriers a person with a disability faces is more a result of how society is arranged, rather than the disability itself,” said Broome.

She said something like a building that is not accessible can affect clients, causing barriers to skilled employment.

As a parent of a daughter with a disability, Broome said, she understands the importance and significance of having an accessibly swing-set in the community.

“We have to start thinking, am I reaching out to all the needs of all the people in my community. All access to all people all the time is key.”

The council is currently working on training modules focused on diversity and inclusion, which will be available to towns, businesses and communities.

Cornwall Coun. Corey Frizzell said he wanted to ensure the MacArthur Drive area was serviced with a resource for children to play.

“This one particular area of MacArthur Drive has about 30 kids and about 50 kids that go to the daycare nearby. There are just a lot of kids that live in this area,” said Frizzell.

“There are no municipal parks in this area, the closest one being the APM Centre, which is a bit of a walk.”

He said the town adopted the disability lens for all of their future programming and infrastructure to allow complete accessibility for all current and future residents.

“It is great to provide these services and resources for people who are disabled in our community,” he said.

The town is also planning on building a similar swing-set in Sunrise Cove, a community in the York Point area.

Denise Villard, director of the Stepping Stones Early Years Centre in Cornwall, said the new swing-set is a great addition to the community and will allow kids at her centre another place to play during the day.

The centre, which hosts about 35 early years children and 15 school children, is located about 50 metres away from the new swing-set. 

The centre does not currently have children with disabilities, but Villard said the swing-set ensures a safe, close place to play for any future children. She added the swing-set is a good first step but she hopes for more accessible infrastructure for children and people.

“It is really important for children to interact with all different types of people and to have a swing-set like this here, gives them that opportunity.” 


https://twitter.com/Ernesto_Carranz
 


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