2018 Council

Vote Bill Manners

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Accessibility in Nanaimo

Disability is something that can happen to any of us at any time.

When I was in my teens, I was employed in an extremely loud work environment without being given hearing protection. As a result, I lost much of my hearing and have had to rely on hearing aids for most of my adult life.

Most people don’t notice my hearing aids and often don’t even realize I have a hearing disability. I’m very good at reading lips, and can usually piece together words and meanings I can’t hear from the context of the conversation.

But I sometimes have difficulty with communication. Sometimes I pronounce words wrong because I have never heard them pronounced clearly. At home, I rely on louder volume and closed captioning on TV. And for many years, I didn’t attend city council meetings because it was easier to hear everything at home on my computer with headphones on.

Around 1990, I got together with Michael Bortolotto, Carl Ashley, Mary Jo Arnold, Anne Scott, Pat Leahy, and others to create the Nanaimo and Region Independent Living Resource Centre (which later became the Nanaimo Disability Resource Centre).  Our goal was to advocate and provide resources for people with all types of disabilities.  Following that, I became the publisher and editor of the “Better Life” newspaper. It was a monthly paper which provided news and information for persons with disabilities and seniors living north of the Malahat.

We live in a world where ability is often taken for granted, and disability is not planned for. Design must be inclusive; otherwise, it inflicts vulnerability on the people who are excluded by that design. As a councillor, I want to make sure the Nanaimo residents with disabilities are included more by design as we move forward and are not made to feel excluded or vulnerable by the lack of amenities.

From my own personal experience, I know that closed-captioning, interpretive sign language, etc. are needed by the deaf and hard-of-hearing community for them to be able to participate in municipal politics and get vital information in case of emergencies. I know there are many other aspects of accessibility whether it be visual, mobility, or cognitive where the City of Nanaimo needs to improve its performance. I would like the opportunity to work towards the goal of making sure that everyone is included as we move forward.  Vote Bill Manners for council on October 20, 2018, if you agree.

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