Published: 7 June 2023
Napier’s iconic Sunken Gardens on Marine Parade are now accessible for everyone to enjoy thanks to a ramp that has been installed on the north side, next to Par 2 MiniGolf.
The ramp is the second of its kind to pop up on Marine Parade, following one that was recently constructed near the Tom Parker Fountain. Other newly accessible areas along the popular stretch of shore include new pathways to picnic tables at Marine Parade Reserve, opposite Coote Road.
The installations are key actions from Napier’s Disability Action Plan, stemming from the Napier City Council Disability Strategy, which was adopted by Council in 2021.
Following the launch of the Disability Strategy, Disability Portfolio Holder Councillor Greg Mawson and Councillor Sally Crown saw an opportunity to work together to champion the projects.
"One in four Kiwis live with a disability. We can't deliver everything in our plan all at once, but what might seem like a small thing to those of us who are less likely to be faced with accessibility barriers can have a big impact for those who are," says Greg.
Sally says she’s grown up with whānau who have varying accessibility needs.
“Considering how Marine Parade contributes to wellbeing and experience in Napier, adding accessibility features like this means more of our community and visitors benefit.”
With paint work almost complete on on-street mobility parks managed by Napier City Council, staff and contractors are now turning their focus to upgrading other mobility carparks rated poor in the Mobility Car Park Review, undertaken last year.
As part of the upgrade, some car parks in the Marewa Shopping Centre and outside Ocean Spa will be moved so they are more practical to use. Extra car parks will also be installed over time to increase mobility parking availability, starting with a block of parks in the central city, in Dalton Street.
In other areas of Napier, Anderson Park is set to receive more pieces of accessible playground equipment in 2024 along with communication boards, which use pictures to help children and whānau communicate, share ideas, and interact while at the playground. They also include a QR code to link to sign language options to use when visiting the playground.
A planned upgrade for Westshore Playground encompasses accessibility improvements and new surfaces, while a new playground at Park Island includes some accessible play equipment. The playgrounds are set for completion in spring and summer respectively.
While there is a major focus on making Napier an accessible city that everyone can enjoy, Napier City Council is also working internally to encourage a more accessible workplace. ‘Barrier Free Accessibility Aware’ training will be offered to key staff, which will provide expert guidance on the creation of accessible buildings, spaces and transport networks that meet the needs of all people.
For more information about the Napier Disability Strategy and Action Plan, and other services available visit the Napier City Council website, search key words ‘Accessible Napier’.
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