News Release: HAMILTON, Bermuda – Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA) and OBMI Bermuda Accessible Solutions issued a joint call to Bermuda residents, business owners and tourism stakeholders to attend the latest in a series of free one-hour workshops promoting accessible solutions. This week’s seminar will focus on landscape architecture, generally defined as the space between buildings. The two landscape seminars take place on May 19, 2021, the first at 12 noon and the second at 3pm. 

Bermuda Tourism Authority has been guided by Bermuda’s National Tourism Plan objectives to offer frictionless experiences from arrival to departure in a way that not only satisfies visitors but adds to their positive experience of the country. Accessibility is one measure that checks that box not only for the island’s visitors but for the whole resident community. The organisation emphasises that it is vital that accessibility becomes a priority for the entire country to ensure the wellbeing of those with chronic or temporary disabilities and their families and co-workers in Bermuda.   

Charles H Jeffers II, CEO of BTA said: “As a destination, our success is built on the contributions of our community. It is no wonder then that our accessibility initiative has been developed with significant input from Bermuda’s disabled community and corporate support from accessibility design experts such as OBMI. Our partnership with OBMI’s Accessibility Solutions division will help elevate Bermuda’s infrastructure and deliver the tools for residents and business operators to make the island more accessible. Our team is committed to supporting the move towards a more accessible Bermuda by 2025.”  

Davida O’Brien, of the Bermuda Tourism Authority saiD: “Our accessibility awareness training, and the accessible solutions workshops have been well subscribed with positive feedback. Over the next few months, alongside our partners at OBMI, we will invite residents, homeowners and business operators to join us for expert guidance on ways to expand accessibility through landscape, interior design, and architecture. The classes are free, and they will provide solutions to cater to a range of budgets and structures. We encourage people to sign up today.”  

Bobbi Singh, OBM Bermuda, said: “Within the social and environmental context, accessibility is also diversity through incorporating inanimate objects with green spaces. Landscape architecture is the art of design which integrates landform, water, and indigenous flora and fauna. It is a key component in accessible design. Equally, it can profoundly impact everyday lives in a physical, spiritual and mental capacity. We are delighted to be able to share our expertise to infuse accessibility considerations in every aspect of Bermuda’s building culture going forward.” 

Outdoor spaces and landscape design have been shown to inspire a sense of belonging and contribute positively to both physical and mental health.  The Accessible Solutions series was developed using the principles of Universal Design.  This means designing thoughtful public spaces that give the same or equivalent access and experience to the widest group of people regardless of mobility, sensory or cognitive abilities.  Mobility can include those in wheelchairs, families with prams, young children and seniors unsteady on their feet.  The goal is for the space to be comfortable and inclusive rather than outdoor spaces that are not physically accessible, take undue effort, cause discomfort, loss of dignity or independence.   

“The Accessible Solutions series and landscape seminar are outcomes of our work to ensure that we are working with our stakeholders that are, on a daily bases promoting and advocating for an inclusive Bermuda. Through these partnerships we aim to accomplish a barrier-free and enjoyable experience that is accessible to all,” according to Ms. O’Brien. 

The May sessions will explore accessible landscape architecture solutions including:  

  • Path surfaces, slope of ramps and width; Use of tactile warning pavers.   
  • Seating to rest and enjoy the surroundings with consideration for sun and shade concerns.  
  • Handrails on staircases or alternative entrances with ramps/elevators 
  • Exterior Lighting to elevate sense of safety and security by enhancing visibility. 
  • Ease of access: allocated parking with proximity to entrances or ramps with sufficient room to exit or enter 
  • Swimming pool design accounting for the height of steps and the need for hoist equipment 
  • Wayfinding or signs of various types including conventional signage, or clues such as strategically installed paving, or plants to provide guidance for people of all abilities.  
  • Use of fragrant plants for a sensory experience or palms for an auditory experience. 

The 2021 BTA Accessible Solutions series as well as the Accessibility Awareness Training can be booked online through the BTA website.