July 06, 2016 - 7:00 PM
KAMLOOPS - A local woman wants to make Kamloops more accessible.
While people with mobility disabilities face barriers on a regular basis, Rayleigh resident Lisa Coriale sees a way to alleviate at least one with temporary ramps.
“Basically, we want to bring in these ramps so that people with diverse abilities are able to access more businesses around Kamloops,” she says.
The idea is to build temporary, movable ramps for building entrances with a step to make them more accessible. She’s hoping to have ramps in Kamloops business entrances within a year. Ramps over three steps could follow in the future.
“Some businesses in Kamloops have ramps and are very accessible, but there are many businesses who don’t,” Coriale says. “These ramps are temporary and are made of wood. They come in many bright colours so that they are visible and safe.”
Accessibility is an issue Coriale knows well; she’s lived with Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy since she was a child. She was inspired by a project in Toronto called StopGap started in 2011 by Luke Anderson, a young engineer who needed ramps to get into buildings after a biking injury. A similar project put ramps in place in Vernon in 2013.
The ramps are a relatively cheap and practical solution to access buildings with nearly street level entrances. Coriale estimates each will cost around $100.
Right now she’s working on building awareness for the issue and project by speaking to business owners. A fundraising campaign will follow to collect money or materials. Volunteers will also be needed to build and deliver the ramps.
The Mayor’s Advisory Committee for People with Disabilities is helping get the city on board, she says, and the Kamloops Self Advocate is helping.
While this may be a solution to one issue, accessibility barriers are still common in Kamloops, she says. Doors without automatic opening systems, parking lots, sidewalks and stairs in general are still common problems.
(HOWARD ALEXANDER /InfoTel Multimedia)
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