Thanks to a new bylaw, the City of Vancouver is poised to become the first city in Canada to require housing to be accessible.
The proposed building bylaw will require good accessibility within all newly built housing in Vancouver, including houses, townhouses, duplexes, laneway homes, and apartments.
The changes include: Wider doors, stairs and halls; level door thresholds; easy to reach/use switches, controls and faucets; lower drain pipes so counters can be lowered easily; accessible bathroom; accessible shower drain or ability to install an accessible shower without undue expense; bathroom walls reinforced so grab bars can easily be installed.
This will make a huge difference for seniors and people with disabilities. It will make it possible for people with disabilities to find housing they can actually live in, and it will make it possible for seniors to age in place.
The Persons with Disabilites Advisory Committee and the Seniors Advisory Committee have worked with the Chief Building Official for two years to develop this new bylaw. They think it is a good bylaw that will significantly improve accessibility for everyone with minimal additional cost to construction.
Vancouver’s Director of Planning has made a commitment to start the process to consider requiring an accessible entrance to homes.
THERE’S JUST ONE PROBLEM…
An essential accessibility feature is not included. The bylaw requires good accessibility on the inside of housing, but there is no requirement for an accessible way to get to or from the entrance to the housing.
In other words, while the bylaw requires good accessibility inside a house, it does not require an accessible way to get from the outside of the house to the door of the house.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: Take action before April 30th
The City now wants to consult with the community about this proposed housing bylaw.
It’s really important that everyone provides the City with feedback about this historic housing bylaw which will be the first in Canada to require all new housing to be minimally accessible and adaptable on the inside.
Feedback from the community will be given to Council to help them make their final decision.
The proposed accessibility bylaw is on the City’s website for consultation until April 30.
Please go to the City website http://vancouver.ca/home-property-development/public-consultations-about-building-regulations.aspx & click on Public Consultation Round 4.
You can also email comments & concerns to Chief Building Official, Will Johnston, at email@example.com
Consultation closes April 30th, 2013
For more information contact:
Jill Weiss, City of Vancouver Person with Disabilities Advisory Committee: (604) 608-0384
Chris Morrissey, City of Vancouver Seniors Advisory Committee: (604) 877-7768
Please note: The issue of an accessible path only applies to houses, townhouse, laneway houses, and duplexes. The current Vancouver building bylaw already requires an accessible path to an entrance for all newly built apartment buildings with more than three units.
Please give your feedback to the city!