REMAINING funds in the 2020-21 allocation for the Bathurst Access Improvement for Small Business grants will be used to improve access to events in the community.
The grants scheme is offered each year as a way to make it easier for small businesses to make their premises more accessible.
A grant was awarded in November to one business, Generosity Church, but there was still about $7000 left in the allocation.
It was proposed that council research the possibility of purchasing temporary ramps. Council has since conducted that research and resolved to proceed with the purchase.
"Following the research, the Bathurst Regional Access Committee recommends that a portable ramp be purchased for use by council's events team to improve the accessibility of council-run events," a report said.
While the ramps will be used for council-run events, this wasn't the initial idea pitched by the access committee.
Instead, the group suggested the ramps be purchased by council, with local businesses able to hire the ramps to assist with temporary access restrictions.
Council's research found that other councils that had portable ramps did not offer the option for local businesses to hire them.
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Greater Shepparton City Council purchased three portable ramps in 2015 and offers free hire to local community groups and council-run events.
This council sees an average of 20 hires per year and most of them are internal hires through the events team.
Warrnambool City Council does ramp hire for community events, while Hepburn Council has seen tourists with a disability hire ramps for accessibility while in the region.
As it's a new project, Warrnambool council hasn't been able to determine demand yet, while Hepburn council reported little demand.
Bathurst council determined that the ramps should not be made available to hire for local businesses.
"It was discussed that businesses should be seeking assistance of small access grants to provide permanent solutions to access issues," the report said.
In addition to discussing the purchase of ramps, the report from council's Community and Cultural Services department also recommended that council promotes a new program to local businesses to assist them in making accessibility improvements.
The program, Access at a Glance, is run by Social Futures and offers free access to audits to businesses.
There is also an opportunity for businesses to promote their accessibility with window stickers awarded through the program.
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