I was very surprised by some of the comments made by some of the residents at the Wednesday January 15th, 2014 public meeting for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Park regarding making it fully accessible. Note, the park formerly known as Civic Square Park was renamed to Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Park and is located on John West Way and Civic Square Gate. I was quite frankly shocked by some of the reasons why they did not want the accessible playground at Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Park to be built. Such things as there will be too much noise made by the kids, there are not enough kids / people in the nearby condominium. One gentleman even questioned if my parents would have driven me to an accessible park if one was available when I was younger.
What the residents at the meeting failed to understand is that there are many benefits to an accessible park. It is not just for little kids with physical disabilities. You could have playground equipment that is adaptable. You also could have sensory items such as wind chimes a labyrinth for relaxation and meditation. A small water-park water area to either sit or run or stand underneath as well as adaptable picnic tables for picnics and group outings.
Some individuals mistakenly think of persons with disabilities and put us all into one group; they think we are all the same. That is not the case. There are persons with physical and developmental disabilities, persons that are blind, deaf, even persons with severe learning disabilities like severe anxiety. Aurora has over 35 designated parks and only one is accessible. I believe this would be a great step to make Aurora more inclusive for everyone especially service groups like Community Living Newmarket, Aurora Kerry’s Place, The Able Network. It would give the individuals a place where they could experience independence, relaxation and just overall joy. I would like to know why three councillors voted against this idea. There are some concerns about not enough soccer fields in town. I have been told that Aurora is building six new soccer fields in the future. This park is only half a soccer pitch, so I think this would be the perfect place to put an accessible park. In conclusion, I think this is a great idea for the community to come together and promote inclusion for all.
Vice Chair Aurora Accessibility Advisory Committee