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Concerns raised over accessibility in Salmon Arm for people with disabilities

Better ramps and crosswalks among needs, city plans to join regional district-led initiative
Back in October 2019, a gathering was held to celebrate a newly installed accessible door at Salmon Arm’s recreation centre. (Observer file photo)

Salmon Arm hopes to work in concert with the Columbia Shuswap Regional District and other member municipalities to improve access for people with disabilities and those assisting them.

City council discussed a letter recently from resident Tawney Meiorin, who asked if the city has an accessibility committee and, if not, if there are protocols for maintaining and building ramps, sidewalks, crosswalks and more.

Meiorin asked if future ramps will be built to code for handicap access. She noted the ramp in the tunnel by the Salmar Classic downtown is very steep. She also mentioned the need for access around the hospital, pointing out the sidewalk close to the hospital emergency exit has a ramp but no crosswalk, so a person would have to go up the hill or not park on the side street.

Meiorin said she sees many people in Salmon Arm with mobility issues. A friend of hers who was in the manor in a wheelchair greatly enjoyed going to McGuire Lake in the last few days of her life.

“It was a struggle going back uphill especially with limited crosswalk access, without having to go farther out of the way. Having been through mobility issues myself, I know it can be painful, and having easy/fast access can make things so much better.”

Coun. Kevin Flynn referred to the letter and pointed out that local governments are being mandated by the province to have an accessibility committee to deal with accessibility issues by the fall.

“I think Sicamous is going to be dealing with this, Revelstoke is going to be dealing with it, we’re dealing with it. I think CSRD is willing to take a bit of a lead role; I would ask our CAO to communicate with the CAO at the regional district and look at a way where we can work together on this, because I think it’s a very similar issue for all of us. The legislation isn’t very clear but it is clear we have to do something.”

Flynn, who chairs the CSRD board, said he knows the CAO at the CSRD is willing to take the lead role and work with member municipalities to come up with a solution.

Erin Jackson, the city’s CAO, said she has communicated with the CSRD’s CAO.

“I understand we are going to attempt to do this in a regional manner and I think it makes a lot of sense, we have staff support here.”

Read more: Salmon Arm’s recreation centre opens gym door to whole community

Read more: Floating beach chair opens Shuswap Lake to people with limited mobility

Read more: Two-thirds of Canadians with disabilities found barriers on planes, trains: audit
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Martha Wickett

About the Author: Martha Wickett

came to Salmon Arm in May of 2004 to work at the Observer. I was looking for a change from the hustle and bustle of the Lower Mainland, where I had spent more than a decade working in community newspapers.
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