The city of St. Catharines, Ont., recently launched a new signage pilot program to help improve communication between deaf and hearing residents in public spaces, through the use of American Sign Language (ASL).
Signs depicting the ASL alphabet, as well as common language and phrases, will soon be installed at the entrances of select recreational facilities. The program came to fruition after April Hertneky, an advocate for the deaf community, approached city staff with her ideas, and worked closely with them to find solutions.
Residents will find the new signage at facilities such as:
- Seymour-Hannah Sports and Entertainment Centre
- Bill Burgoyne Arena
- St. Catharines Kiwanis Aquatic Centre
- Port Weller Community Centre
- Russell Avenue Community Centre
- Dunlop Drive Older Adult Centre
- West St. Catharines Older Adult Centre
Some of the city’s parks will also become home to ASL signs this summer. Residents are encouraged to watch for more of these inclusive and accessible community developments on the city’s website.
“This initiative aligns with the Accessibility Advisory Committee’s goal to promote a barrier-free and inclusive environment for all, and the Recreation Master Plan’s goal to make St. Catharines the city where everybody can play,” says Eric Lamothe, manager of business planning and strategic services. “We hope other municipalities will follow our lead and install similar signage in their recreation facilities and parks.”