Greater Shepparton City Council’s vision is for all residents and visitors to have full and equal access to Greater Shepparton’s vibrant lifestyle. Council has an important role to play in supporting the liveability of the region for people with a disability. Greater Shepparton City Councils Universal Access and Inclusion Plan provides a practical and fiscally responsible approach to improving the accessibility and inclusiveness of Councils infrastructure, services and information over time. This is an undertaking that Greater Shepparton City Council and the people within take very seriously.
Since work has begun on the plan, they’ve introduced AUSLAN loops and interpreters to major public events such as Carols by Candlelight, increased accessible parking throughout the townships under the council auspice, created disability-friendly playgrounds for children, added ramps to public works and invested in adult changing stations.
Greater Shepparton City Council aims to foster an environment of inclusion and prosperity for all through their inclusion efforts.
With a population of 66,000 and an estimated 12,000 residents living with a disability in Greater Shepparton, Team Leader of Assessment and Inclusion Services for Greater Shepparton Council Jason Watts said, “good access makes great business sense.”
As part of Greater Shepparton City Council’s movement towards a more accessible area for residents, workers and tourists alike, the council has been working with Briometrix.
With a limited budget and the consideration of integrating already existing systems into the work, Greater Shepparton City Council was seeking an accessibility mapping application that was as useful, flexible and cost-effective as it was user-friendly.
The aim of the working relationship is to create interactive accessibility maps to help the people of Shepparton, Mooroopna, Tatura and Murchison and those visiting for work or leisure navigate the town, no matter their plans.
Central components of the planned accessibility mapping included:
“Understanding that Greater Shepparton is fast becoming an events-based tourist town. Attracting more events means more tourism. So, it’s on our radar to grow our accessible events capabilities to cater to this growing need and potential.”
Recognising 1 in 5 Australians have a disability and using the principles of universal accessibility to create a city that can still make the most of their citizens even if their individual circumstances change. This includes provision for the elderly or other groups such as parents with prams that need greater support when navigating the townships.
Continuing the innovations in accessibility as per the Universal Access and Inclusion Plan to improve Greater Shepparton’s ability to cater to people with disabilities. This includes but is not limited to feeding the data to the public for their information as well as highlighting areas that may need additional work and consideration by the council in terms of infrastructure.
Greater Shepparton City Council is committed to creating a disability and age-friendly city that supports locals and tourists alike, now and into the future.
Briometrix were commissioned to create accessibility mapping of the prime tourism destination, the Goulburn River shared paths and other key areas of the four townships within Greater Shepparton including Shepparton, Mooroopna, Tatura and Murchison.
Each map showed-
- Physical features of the landscape
- The location of accessible toilets, transport and other such services
- The effort and exertion required for a wheelchair user
- Alternative paths based on individual needs
Greater Shepparton City Council is pleased with the results and await the release of the individual smartphone app.
“As a result of the data we receive and the feedback we can capture, Greater Shepparton City Council can make the creation of capital works for the community simpler. We can pre-plan, and so too can tourists and people visiting our town. It makes life so much easier because the data helps make the decisions. It takes the guess work out of planning a holiday or whether a family can travel to an event. That planning can be applied to people with disabilities, the accessible tourism industry, initiatives by small business to attract more tourist dollar – as well as families with prams or anyone attending events from 8 to 80 in Shepparton” said Mr Watts.
“The approach Shepparton Council has to disability is proative and smart,” explained Natalie Verdon, Business Development Manager for Briometrix, “How people move within Shepparton is seen as an opportunity. It’s about commerce, inclusion and tourism. Building a city that has low barriers to participation across all kinds of disabilities and meeting the needs of an ageing population head on is a beautiful statement about the community and their potential for economic growth through tourism and attracting new residents now and in the future.”
To the people of Greater Shepparton, Mr Watts had this to say:
“The majority of people no longer fear technology. The ability to connect other members of the community, the data loggers, the council and everyone together will be what makes this program a success. We want to encourage you to download the app when it’s available and share your feedback on the app and the maps. We have an advisory committee in place made up of members of the disability community who are there to hear from you. Visit our website and complete a feedback form. Let us know what you want to see and how it is working for you.”
To other councils and/or bodies looking to apply Briometrix’s accessibility mapping to their town, Mr Watts had this to say:
“The relationship with Briometrix was easy to manage. Briometrix found data loggers within the Shepparton wheelchair community by working with a local spinal injury group. This meant the project was for the people by the people it was intended to help right from the get-go. The Briometrix team worked predominately with our web and GIS systems team with an open and honest approach to integrate the systems. At each stage, it was professional and worked like a partnership where collaboration drove the outcomes. I am keen to see how the app rolls out in Greater Shepparton in our four areas and see the community in action.”
For further details on the Universal Access and Inclusion Plan, you can head to the Greater Shepparton City Council’s website.
To contact Briometrix in relation to accessibility mapping, you can email Natalie Verdon via firstname.lastname@example.org