The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) seeks to incorporate the needs of all of residents and visitors, now and into the future.
The RMOW has incorporated accessibility and inclusion into the municipality's guiding policy documents.
Development of RMOW Accessibility Policy
On February 4, 2020, Council endorsed the proposed approach, work plan, project team and timeline for creating a comprehensive Accessibility Policy for the RMOW.
The proposed Accessibility Policy will support ongoing efforts through a comprehensive policy framework. This framework is intended to provide clarity, consistency and direction on evaluation criteria, standards and targets so that the RMOW can progressively enhance accessibility consistent with municipal objectives and authorities.
Staff propose to use Universal Design (UD), the BC Building Code (BCBC), the Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification (RHFAC) Program and the Accessible Canada Act as the key concepts in the development of the Accessibility Policy.
Further details on the development of the RMOW Accessibility Policy are provided in the Administrative Report to Council.
Official Community Plan (OCP)
The RMOW is leading a process to update Whistler’s Community Vision and OCP. This process began in January 2018 and is a continuation of the 2010 to 2013 OCP update process.
Universal Design (UD) is a key accessibility concept and a UD philosophy is included as a policy objective in the RMOW’s newly proposed OCP, which is currently at third reading. The new OCP includes the following definition of UD:
The design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design. Universal Design is based on seven principles:
(1) Equitable Use: The design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities.
(2) Flexibility in Use: The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities.
(3) Simple and Intuitive Use: Use of the design is easy to understand, regardless of the user’s experience, knowledge, language skills or current concentration level.
(4) Perceptible Information: The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user’s sensory abilities.
(5) Tolerance for Error: The design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions.
(6) Low Physical Effort: The design can be used efficiently and comfortably and with a minimum of fatigue.
(7) Size and Space for Approach and Use: Appropriate size and space is provided for approach, reach, manipulation, and use regardless of user’s body size, posture or mobility. (Mace 1985) (Centre for Excellence in Universal Design)
In the newly proposed OCP, UD is included through Chapter 5: Land Use and Development's Residential and Visitor Accommodation sections as well as Chapter 8: Health, Safety and Community Well-Being's Accessibility section.
View the latest Official Community Plan document at whistler.ca/OCP.
Aging in Place Strategy
The RMOW, Whistler Community Services Society (WCSS), Mature Action Committee (MAC), and the Youth Advisory Group (YAG) worked in collaboration to develop an Aging in Place Strategy in 2010. The Aging in Place Strategy will work towards creating a fully age-friendly community where Whistler residents have the ability to remain in their home community as they age.
Aging in Place is defined as: The ability to remain in one’s own home and community safely, independently and comfortably, regardless of age, income or ability throughout life's stages. Governments and communities have a role in creating and implementing policies that are supportive of community interaction and programming which promotes healthy lifestyles and safe movement.
Review the report: Whistler Through the Ages.
Emergency Preparedness for People with Disabilities
Wildfires, flooding, earthquakes, hazardous materials spills and other hazards could threaten Whistler. Residents and businesses must be prepared to be self sufficient for at least 72 hours following a major emergency. During an emergency, you and your family could be on your own for an extended period of time. Emergency services may not be readily available, as increasing demands are placed on responders. It may take emergency workers some time to get to you as they help those in most critical need.
Planning for emergencies as a person with a disability requires a bit more diligence than for those people without disabilities. Disability Alliance has created a Personal Preparedness Checklist to assist with this process. Please take the time to look through the entire Prepare to Survive - Prepare to Help planning document, which can be found in the Disability Alliance section below.
Volunteers are a crucial part of the Whistler Emergency Program:
- The Whistler Search and Rescue team search for, and provide aid, to people who are in distress or imminent danger.
- The Whistler Emergency Social Services team provides short-term (generally for 72 hours) shelter, food, clothing and emotional support to evacuees.
- The Emergency Communications team provides a means for emergency communications when phone lines, cell phones and other conventional means of communications fail.
For more information on Emergency Preparedness, visit the Whistler Emergency Program page.
Disability Alliance BC: Emergency Preparedness
Since 2006, Disability Alliance BC (DABC), formerly known as the B.C. Coalition of People with Disabilities, has been running the Emergency Preparedness Project and has been a leader in promoting the inclusion of people with disabilities in emergency preparedness in British Columbia and Canada.
DABC and Volunteer Canada, have trained 20 trainers from disability organizations and volunteer centres from BC, Yukon, Alberta, Ontario and New Brunswick to deliver community training in emergency planning for people with disabilities.
DABC has collaborated with a number of agencies to create a number of training manuals, and resources for community groups and individuals who want to prepare themselves and/or play a role in emergency planning and response in their communities. The best example of this compiled knowledge is found within Prepare to Survive - Prepare to Help document. Further information can be found within the library of the DABC which has gathered these resources to most easily search for any resources may be needed for emergency preparedness for people with disabilities.