West Shore Parks and Recreation is making its facility more accessible for everyone. Bobbi Neal

Parks and rec removes accessibility barriers

Inconsistent sidewalks, a lack of automatic doors and poorly designed wheelchair ramps has made accessing West Shore Parks and Recreation a challenge for people with mobility problems.

Inconsistent sidewalks, a lack of automatic doors and poorly designed wheelchair ramps has made accessing West Shore Parks and Recreation a challenge for people with mobility problems.

But the recreation centre is correcting its halphazard accessibility around the main Juan de Fuca building thanks to a $75,000 grant from the federal government’s enabling accessibility fund.

Prior to this project, WSPR staff discovered, for instance, that a sloped sidewalk curb on one side of a crosswalk led to a high curb that wheelchairs, scooters and strollers could not navigate.

“Now, when you come to the curb, you can continue on in a seamless, barrier-free path,” said Bobbi Neal, community development coordinator for WSPR. “When you want to promote alternative modes of transportation you want to make it as easy as possible.”

The sidewalk from the bus stop on Island Highway to the administration entrance is undergoing a complete overhaul and should be finished at the end of the month.

“It’s an all new sidewalk with a curb cut (for wheelchair use),” Neal, said adding the sidewalk has been widened and the shubbery has been cut back.

The administration entrance used to have two sets of stairs that needed maneuvering in order to enter, certainly a challenge for anyone in a wheelchair or walker. There was a tight narrow wheelchair ramp into the administration area, but no automatic door button to get into the building.

Now the stairs have been removed and replaced with a sloping sidewalk and the wheelchair ramp is widened and a door button installed.

“Wheelchairs and strollers are a lot bigger than they used to be 30 years ago,” Neal said.

In 2008, WSPR hosted the event Disability for Day, where municipal politicians and groups from across the West Shore took on the challenge of disabilities, including using wheelchairs and being blindfolded to simulate blindness. They then maneuvered the grounds and made notes on areas that they found challenging to navigate and access.

“We had a list of obstacles identified from that day,” Neal said.

Through out the main building, automatic door openers have been added helping people gain access to the curling rink and elevators. Neal pointed out there are many wheelchair curlers who use the facility but, there was no automatic door opener.

“We are looking at a more universal design so everyone can access (the facility) in a more user friendly way,” Neal said. “We want to literally make it accessible from the time they arrive here to the time they leave.”

Recreation Integration Victoria and Intermunicipal Advisory Committee on Disability Issues have been working with WSPR to identify areas requiring improvements and overseeing the project.

“IACDI is extremely please to learn (WSPR) got the money to create more accessibility improvement,” said Marnie Essery, IACDI chair. “We are very we are very excited to build on existing structures and to be more accessible for people of different ages and accessibility levels.”




Just Posted

28 years later: Dunahee disappearance remains largest investigation in Victoria police history

The four-year old Victoria boy went missing without a trace on March 24, 1991

City of Langford mails out information on sewer connection requirement

Plan lays out obligations, exemptions and financial assistance information for the costly hookup

Update: BC Transit driver taken to hospital with serious injuries after assault

Driver attempted to stop an altercation between two people on the bus

Victoria Fire Department advises cigarette safety after two fires started in one week

Two separate fires caused by cigarette butts were avoidable

Protective human chain forms around Victoria mosque for Friday prayer

Islanders stand arm-in-arm to show support in aftermath of New Zealand shootings

POLL: When do you think the next major earthquake will hit Vancouver Island?

According to seismologists, Vancouver Island is overdue for a magnitude 7 earthquake.… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of March 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

WestJet sticking with Boeing 737 Max once planes certified to fly

WestJet had expected to add two more of the planes this year to increase its fleet to 13

B.C. driver caught going 207 km/h on motorcycle along Okanagan Highway

A motorcyclist was caught by Kelowna RCMP going 207 km/h on Highway 97C

Motorcyclist dies after three-vehicle crash on old Island Highway

Accident happened at 12:15 p.m. Friday near Country Club Centre in Nanaimo

B.C. fire department offers tips to keep your home safe during wildfire season

With wildfire season getting closer, the Penticton Fire Dept. offer tips to keep your home safe

Fierce house cat spotted as ‘aggressor’ in face off with coyote in B.C. backyard

North Vancouver resident Norm Lee captures orange cat versus coyote in backyard showdown

Most Read