Wednesday, December 3, 2014

International Day of Persons with Disabilities

A compassionate and caring community values all backgrounds and abilities. In recognition and celebration of today’s 22nd annual International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD), special guest speaker Chris Koch shared with The City his inspiring story of how he has overcome his physical challenges with courage, grace, and acceptance for himself.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi and Chris Koch
Koch became an internet sensation after a short documentary film called ‘Steep Your Soul’ featured him on Oprah Winfrey. A rancher and farmer in the Nanton area, he was born without arms or legs. But that hasn’t stopped him from doing anything.

From wakesurfing to downhill skiing to dune buggying and traveling, Koch’s If I can… approach to life is to be admired by all. After the Calgary flood of 2013, he raised funds for The Calgary Zoo by climbing the 802 steps of the Calgary Tower in less than half an hour.

“Chris’ presentation affirms the importance of the work we do at The City to find solutions to issues people with disabilities face daily,” says Leanne Squair, Issue Strategist with Community & Neighbourhood Services. “An inclusive society for all means our buildings, programs and services can be accessed by everyone; and that is our goal.”

Accessibility Highlights

The City of Calgary’s Advisory Committee on Accessibility (ACA) and two sub-committees, Access Design and Accessible Transportation, provide advice on important issues that impact the needs of people with disabilities, including building design, transportation and services.

A few of the programs and services offered by The City to help make services accessible to all include:
  • TTY – Text for 311 services
  • Text 911 services for deaf, deafened, hard of hearing or speech impaired persons
  • Accessible transit and curbs
  • Audible indications at traffic signals to help visually impaired pedestrians cross at signalized intersections
  • Waste and recycling braille carts
  • Home maintenance services
  • Snow Angels
  • Adaptive fitness and community recreation programs including adaptive equipment (wheelchair accessible pottery wheel, adapted golf cart, accessible weight room equipment, pool lifts, etc.)

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