Going to the SASCU Recreation Centre in Salmon Arm just became easier and, in some cases, possible, for some residents.
In May of 2018, Patrick Ryley came to city council to ask for improvements to accessibility at city buildings.
He had just spent five months in a wheelchair so the facilities’ road blocks to access were far too well-known to him.
One of his requests was an accessible door for the gym in the rec centre.
He had pointed out there’s an accessible door at the pool entry but not by the gym, and events in the gym often extend beyond pool hours.
On Wednesday, Oct. 23, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at the rec centre to celebrate the new door.
Along with Ryley, present were Mayor Alan Harrison and other city politicians, rec centre and Shaw Centre staff, as well as residents Bruce Jones who uses an electric scooter and Danielle Lane who uses a wheelchair.
Harrison said the door is an example of what the city is trying to do – make the city more accessible. He thanked Ryley for bringing the request to the city.
“It’s good that we live in a town when you can actually go before council and say, I’d like a four-way stop here or a handicap door there and they actually listen and get it done.”
Ryley had also made another request to city council at that 2018 council meeting. He had noted there are accessible doors on the south end, while on the north end, near Hucul Pond, there’s a ramp but no accessible doors. Furthermore, he said the existing accessible doors are not always open when the arena or Hucul Pond are in use.
Bruce Jones also raised a concern Wednesday about Shaw Centre. He said while the facility has an elevator, it is not large enough to accommodate some scooters, including his.
Danielle Lane said following the event that she is not able to accompany her son to some parks in Canoe and, to a lesser extent, Salmon Arm, because they’re grassy or do not have a way for her to get from the parking lot to the park.
“”It makes my heart feel for a lot of the parents and grandparents that can’t bring their kids to the park – that’s like one of their favourite things to do,” Lane said.