City of Powell River awarded $80,000 grant to invest in accessibility
Powell River, BC (October 9, 2019) – The City of Powell River has been awarded $80,000 in funding from the Rick Hansen Foundation and the BC Accessibility Grants program to make accessibility improvements at the Recreation Complex, City Hall, Powell River Airport, and Dwight Hall.
Each of the facilities will be allocated up to $20,000 dollars for accessibility improvements.
“These are significant barriers that we’re removing,” said Manager of Recreation, Neil Pukesh. “We’re greatly improving accessibility, modernizing our facilities and addressing some of the key issues that were identified in our accessibility audit that was completed last year.”
Work at the Recreation Complex has started with the installation of new sliding glass doors at the upper east entrance of the building. These will allow for better access to the Evergreen Theatre for cultural events, community meetings and Kings hockey games. A new set of sliding doors will be installed at the west entrance in the coming weeks, providing improved access to amenities, including the pool, fitness centre, and hockey rinks.
“We have a lot of patrons with mobility issues that use the west entrance and I have personally seen people get stuck, some in wheelchairs, because the doors close too quickly, or they don’t open wide enough,” said Pukesh. “These patrons usually either need someone to assist with the doors or there’s simply not enough time for it to open and close properly.”
Pukesh added, parents with strollers, youth with hockey bags, and customers that use mobility aids will no longer have to worry about facing accessibility barriers when they enter the building.
“This is just the start as we know there are still many other accessible issues in our facilities that need to be addressed, such as an elevator and interior improvements,” said Pukesh. “We’re thankful to the Rick Hansen Accessibility Foundation and the BC Accessibility Grant program for providing us this opportunity to start the process.”
The application for funding followed a Rick Hansen Foundation audit and rating of City facilities. A recommendation to support the application was presented to Council at Committee of the Whole on June 18, 2019. All projects are to be completed by September 2020.
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