Vision, Mission and Membership
British Columbia Recreation and Parks Association (BCRPA) provincial offices are located on the traditional territory of the Coast Salish people. BCRPA envisions a province wherein “recreation and parks are valued as essential to active, healthy, and connected communities, and to improving the quality of life of every British Columbian”. BCPRA’s mission is to “lead the enrichment of individuals and their communities through the power of recreation and parks”. BCRPA has 2,614 members, which are made up primarily of local government recreation and parks staff, in addition to provincial organizations, including non-governmental organizations, and corporate sponsors.
How BCPRA is Supporting Inclusion and Access for Persons with Disabilities
BCRPA’s annual conferences feature content specific to inclusion and access, such as adaptive programming, welcoming people of different abilities, creating inclusive environments, and trends in building and equipment design to increase access for people with disabilities. The planning groups also consider the physical layout, taking into consideration physical inclusion, such as wheelchair access. As part of its annual conference, BCRPA will create a low stimulation area to showcase what is being done in municipalities that accommodates individuals who are challenged by noise and crowds. BCPRA also has a new website platform – Conversation Corner – where members seek and share examples of community successes and best practices in inclusion and access.
Community Spotlights: City of Surrey and the Gordon Head Recreation Centre in Saanich
The City of Surrey partners with organizations to provide adaptive and inclusive recreation opportunities in the community. Surrey has had programs in place promoting inclusion for over 15 years, and is well known for having high-quality programs, trained instructors and a variety of opportunities for individuals of all abilities. The successes in inclusive recreation in Surrey stem from the staff making sure that the public is aware of the available programs, working closely with community and advocacy groups, and having highly trained and empathetic staff.
Saanich is an aging municipality. The aim has been to increase access to the recreation centre for people with mobility issues and older adults. After surveying the community, one repeated suggestion was to create a paved, lit, accessible pathway to the Gordon Head Recreation Centre. For those who rely on the bus to access this centre, the only available path was a 430-metre walk on an uneven, dark path with no benches for resting. To address this barrier, a continuous, asphalt pathway into the recreation centre was created. This path is close to the lights along the road, with the lights being made brighter, and extra lighting added to the darker areas. Six adaptable benches were added to the trail, varying in height and the angling of back rests and handles. Tactile surfacing was added to the road crossing, and a line was added across the pathway to assist individuals with a visual impairment.