New app will help people with disabilities better access recreation in Victoria

Students Angela Adamson, Kirsty Jack, Chris Rajala, Dan Spelt; Prof. Livingston; and Recreation Integration Victoria staff Douglas Nutting and Amie Renaud partnered to create the LAVA app.

Dan Spelt (right) visited recreation centres across Victoria with his student research teammates to see their accessibility features.

Students Angela Adamson, Kirsty Jack, Chris Rajala, Dan Spelt; Prof. Livingston; and Recreation Integration Victoria staff Douglas Nutting and Amie Renaud partnered to create the LAVA app.

Whether you’re a person with disabilities or a caregiver, accessing an unfamiliar recreation facility can be frustrating.

“What bus routes go there? Is there parking for people with disabilities? How physically accessible is the facility (e.g. are there automatic door openers, pool lifts, etc.)? Is there specialized or adapted equipment available for the activity? These are just some of the many questions people have before heading out into the community,” says Doug Nutting, Executive Director of Recreation Integration Victoria.

View Leisure Access Victoria App video.

These questions are behind the partnership between Recreation Integration Victoria (RIV) and Dr. Nigel Livingston, a professor in the UVic School of Public Health and Social Policy. The Leisure Access Victoria App (LAVA) and website project will offer descriptions of the accessibility for local recreation, community and event centres with photos and videos of the accessibility features.

The project team gathered data, photos and videos on accessibility features by visiting 37 local centres and then entered the accessibility information into a database. The resulting website is now live at rivlava.ca. The next phase, is to design and create an app to display all of the information and data.

In order to aid the 37 centres in their accessibility goals, the team is providing all of the centres with a recommendation package that includes survey information specific to the site, highlights of outstanding accessible features and suggestions for improvements. The recommendations are ranked from “Good” which are quick and easy fixes that meet accessibility standards to “Better” which provide the next level of accessibility requiring a greater commitment to implement and “Best” which is the gold standard for accessibility.

“This technology has the potential to assist individuals in being able to get with the flow of activity in our region," said Doug Nutting, Executive Director of Recreation Integration Victoria.

As more time and resources are available, the project team plans to continue to add more public recreation centres to the project. They are also interested in expanding the project to other regions if there is interest.

Find out more

This partnership was facilitated by RPKM and written in collaboration with Recreation Integration Victoria. Learn more about RPKM partnership services and Recreation Integration Victoria.