Craig Paulson

BC Parks
In its 2016 plan , BC Parks expressed a commitment to accessibility to ensure the outdoor spaces can be enjoyed by people of all abilities. User-based experiences provide valuable perspectives that can inform the range of policies and approaches across all levels of government to support and improve accessibility. The social model of disability shifts the focus away from changing individuals (disabled visitors) in changing the organisation and practices of outdoor spaces  to enable greater accessibility.

In collaboration with SPARC BC, BC Parks conducted an Accessibility Survey of Parking Permit Program clients which was designed to gather insight into the different ways the people with disabilities use and experience the different parks and recreation areas across the Province. Over a 12-month period beginning in May 2017 there were more than 20,000 surveys to permit users across the Province sent. More than 1,900 people completed the survey.

The survey consisted of both closed-ended and open-ended questions, including the questions about the frequency of visits to BC parks, the kind of activities that respondents are involved in when visiting a park, the main barriers to visiting parks, and a distance that respondents are willing to travel to visit a BC park.

Preliminary results of the survey suggest that a significant number of people with activity limitations have not visited a BC park in the last year. Among the most common barriers that participants encounter when trying to access a park are limited transportation options (14.9%), distance (12.2%), cost (13.1%) and inadequate facilities (9.7%).