HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 608: 21 March 2012

Buildings surveyed for access by the disabled
The Ministry of Internal Affairs has been surveying buildings on Rarotonga to assess the suitability of access for the disabled to public buildings. The survey is now nearing completion.
To date, the survey has focused on public areas with an interest in public buildings pertaining to the central town district such as the CITC chain stores, banks and the hospital.
Buildings deemed compliant to the Act will have adequate access with the inclusion of entrance ramps for wheelchair access; disability enabled toilet facilities and or alternative accessible options that ensure disabled inclusiveness.
Noo Numanga who heads the Disability Unit at Internal Affairs, spoke to the Herald on Tuesday, She has been working in conjunction with the National Disability Council and says that the majority of buildings assessed so far, have taken into account the requirements and are within compliance standards. Although for some of the surveyed establishments additional work in respect of ramps and signage is needed to develop greater disability access, “It’s a matter of finance also,” Numanga further suggests.
Working under the Convention of The Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Disability Act, Numanga advises the surveys purpose is to endorse the ‘enablement of persons with disabilities to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life.’ The survey will only look to review the basic requirements for publicly accessible buildings and or establishments such as Ministerial premises, wrapping up examinations with community buildings, halls and meeting houses for the remaining month. While residential disability access is of a major concern to Internal Affairs, Numanga says that the survey will not include homes further suggesting that it is the concern of families with elderly or disabled members to ensure the appropriate care.
From this point forward ,Numanga says that the survey data collected will be collated and analyzed over the month of August. Hopefully this will give Internal Affairs a clearer indication of the current state of disability access in Rarotonga. -Maria Tanner

Herald Issue 608 21 March
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- Pacific Media Assistance Scheme Seeks Innovation
- Successful NZ visit by PM
- Rerekura Teaurere New Climate Change Coordinator
- News Briefs

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