Two projects receive funding in recognition of UN’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Denise McKee
Denise McKee, executive director of the NWT Disabilities Council, speaking in 2015. File photo.
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Two different projects, in Ndilǫ  and Yellowknife, are receiving funding to improve accessibility for people with disabilities.

The federal government announced $100,000 in funding for the Sundog Trading Post to retrofit the business to become more accessible for people with disabilities.

The NWT Disabilities Council also announced Thursday a partnership with the DeBeers group and the NWT Housing Corporation to build a building aimed at addressing accessibility issues Yellowknife residents may have.

“Persons with disabilities are facing new challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough said in a statement of the Sundog Cafe project. “We will look for creative ways to respond to these issues and help provide opportunities for all Canadians, including persons with disabilities.”

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The program funds important infrastructure projects such as ramps, automatic doors and accessible washrooms that persons with disabilities rely on. 

The Sundog Cafe’s head chef, Calvin Rossouw said they are excited for the work to be completed and that it’s “very important to us that we create a warm, welcoming environment for everyone.”

The accessible housing project will use an “innovative” mixed living model, according to the Disabilities Council, and will include accessible living units for both “aligned to income” and “market value” units.

“Understanding that isolation, unstable and institutional living has historically been a model for people with disabilities, especially those with complex intersectional factors,” was a big motivation for pursuing the project, according to the NWT Disabilities Council.

Over the next year, the NWT Disabilities Council said in a statement they will be seeking funding from all levels of government and beginning planning work on the project.

“Once realized, this important infrastructure would represent a blueprint for future housing development,” Paulie Chinna, Minister Responsible for the NWT Housing Corporation said in a statement.

“This will be a shining example of how multiple levels of stakeholders including private industry, NGO and government and more can address housing needs in the NWT.”

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