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What will it cost to make your facility more inclusive?

As a recreations facility/site, you know that it is a daunting proposition to consider making the many changes that facilitate inclusion overnight, but how should you prioritize and how can you make changes when you have a limited budget?

Priority # 1:

The main priority is getting the user/participant to the door and into your recreation facility/site. Parking, entrance routes and entrances should be carefully considered.

Priority # 2:

The next priority is to ensure safety. This would include manoeuvring safety for persons in wheelchairs, the frail elderly and parents with strollers. Parking lots, fire safety and emergency exits are examples of areas for attention.

It is always less expensive to include universal design features during new construction. However, if they have not been provided, many modifications may be quite inexpensive.

The following are suggestions for simple modifications:

  • Your entrance may have just one step which is creating a barrier. You may be able to solve this problem inexpensively with a simple ramp or landscaping.
  • Ensuring that a paved parking space is accessible requires only a small amount of paint.
  • Appropriate signage to indicate the size, and some labour.
  • Providing a pen and paper at the reception / check-in to communicate has limited cost.
  • Rearrangement of equipment / promotional materials so that it is more accessible again costs very little.

Where Can I Get Funding?

Many communities offer various incentive programs to assist recreation facilities/ sites to improve their accessibility. Contact your local municipal, provincial or federal government for more information. If your recreation facility is located in a heritage building, there may be funding incentives available in your area.

*Adapted with permission from “Is Your Recreation Facility / Site Open to All?” by Kathy Taylor-Hallick and Gerri Thorsteinson (2003), Manitoba Development Committee of the Active Living Alliance for Canadians with a Disability in partnership with The Universal Design Institute, Faculty of Architecture, University of Manitoba.


Man on adapted bike.  People playing tennis.  Girl swimming