Regina, SK – April 16, 2019 - Regina Downtown just became easier to navigate for people who are blind or partially sighted. Victoria Park/City Square Plaza is the first inner city park in Canada to be 'BlindSquare Enabled'.
"For CNIB the goal of this project was to make downtown more accessible and inclusive for people with vision loss. We also wanted to help community members understand that wayfinding technology like this enables people with vision loss to navigate independently," said Christall Beaudry executive director of CNIB Foundation Saskatchewan.
CNIB Foundation Saskatchewan approached businesses in downtown to install beacons in their buildings. Once set up, the technology gives information about the business through the BlindSquare event app which can be downloaded for free on iPhones. Information is communicated through voice over on the phone like the business name, general outlay, if the menu is online and where the bathroom is.
Through the generous donation of an anonymous donor CNIB was able to put a beacon in a number of businesses and cover the cost for the first year. CNIB would like to thank The Copper Kettle, O’Hanlon's, Pressed Sandwich, SaskPower, City of Regina (City Hall) and the Regina Public Library for coming aboard as partners and installing beacons.
"As a long time local business based downtown, we welcomed this great opportunity to make our city centre more welcoming and accessible to those with vision loss so they too can enjoy the wonderful amenities and local businesses our city centre has to offer," said Anna Gardikiotis family owner of The Copper Kettle and O'Hanlons.
CNIB also set up GPS points of interest and navigational markers throughout Victoria Park/City Square Plaza which locate pathways, say where paths lead and locate play areas. The technology allows us to flag the user with information such as this area is subject to change for activities such as the Farmers Market and outdoor concerts, etc.
"People who have vision loss (like me) are now able to travel independently in a much safer way and experience Victoria Park in a way they couldn't before," said Ashley Nemeth the Program Lead for Advocacy with CNIB. "For downtown businesses this also brings new customers, the vision loss community, into their establishments. It is a win-win for everyone involved."
The CNIB Foundation Saskatchewan is a non-profit organization driven to change what it is to be blind today. We deliver innovative programs and powerful advocacy that empower Saskatchewan residents impacted by blindness to live their dreams while tearing down barriers to inclusion. Our work as a blind foundation is powered by a network of volunteers, donors and partners in communities across Saskatchewan. To learn more or get involved, visit cnib.ca/Saskatchewan.
For more information, contact:
Jackie Lay, Communications Specialist, CNIB Foundation Saskatchewan
Office: (306) 667-2241, Cell: (306) 540-3086 or firstname.lastname@example.org