A total of six Oxford County projects — with a value of $155,031 — have been selected for grants from the federal government through the Enabling Accessibility Fund (EAF).
The funding that focuses on making playgrounds and areas used by seniors more accessible was announced by MP Dave MacKenzie on Tuesday.
“It’s always a nice day when money goes to organizations and communities that can use it,” MacKenzie said. “It always seem harder for communities to fulfill the needs of young people for playground equipment. In this case, it's accessible equipment. It doesn’t matter what disabilities a child has, they can use this equipment.”
Two of the projects are slated for Woodstock and include $50,000 for an accessible playground in Woodall Complex near the ball diamonds.
The grant will fund about half of the project with the remainder funded by the city.
“We are very pleased we got this grant,” said Brian Connors, director of parks and recreation for the City of Woodstock. “It will allow for a play structure that is more accessible, as well as bigger and better.”
The funding also includes $28,280 to retrofit an existing reception area and install automated door openers at South Gate Centre.
The Township of South West Oxford will be receiving $20,000 to build an accessible playground at the Salford Community Centre.
“It is the intention of SWOX that all facilities are accessible to all members of the public,” said Mayor David Mayberry. “As the community and council prepare to invest almost $70,000 in this park, the news from Dave MacKenzie that we will receive this boost is just great timing, and great for our residents.”
In Norwich, $15,000 will be used to make an existing playground in Otterville Park more accessible by converting old wood chip surface material to that specifically designed for playgrounds.
“This was one of the pieces of the puzzle, so to speak, in working towards our goal of making the entire park accessible,” said Patrick Horvorka, director of community development services for the Township of Norwich.
The Town of Tillsonburg will also receive $32,500 in order to construct a barrier-free washroom at their community centre.
“Offering a barrier-free washroom on the main floor is an important milestone on our journey to becoming a more inclusive and accessible community,” said Mayor Stephen Molnar.
Bethel Pentecostal Church in Tillsonburg will also receive $9,251 to install automated door openers and build a barrier free washroom.
The projects are part of $15 million in funding released every year to improve accessibility in facilities across Canada.
Since the creation of the EAF in 2007, it has funded over 2,200 projects across Canada.