New app to provide accessibility advice

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Dunedin is the first city to get a sneak peek at a new recreation app before its launch.

Halberg Disability Sport Foundation adviser for Otago and Southland Bridget Meyer, of Dunedin, said the app Accessibel was revealed during the Otago Kaihopara Volunteer Day in the Otago Institute of Sport and Adventure on Saturday.

The foundation, social change agency Be. Accessible, and the Department of Conservation created the app and hosted the day.

The app has accessibility information on New Zealand tracks, waterways and cycle ways.

At the event, 16 Walking Wellness Group volunteers and 10 people with different levels of ability were trained on how to use the app, including how to load information on it, after navigating tracks in Dunedin.

“It is extremely important for the volunteers to see these locations through the lens of someone with an impairment, so they can upload the correct information.”

Halberg Youth Council members and University of Otago students Kiran Dixon, Jacquie Ruth and Victoria Baldwin, all of Dunedin, were among the young people with physical disabilities who assisted.

When information was loaded on the app, it automatically became available on a website.

The website would go live later this year, Ms Meyer said.

By viewing uploaded photos and accessibility information on the website, New Zealanders of all levels of ability would be able to assess whether they should visit certain places, she said.

“We want to empower people, of all levels of ability, to be able to make those decisions, so they can go explore the outdoors.”