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Older buildings can be accessible with the Vernon Ramp Project

The free, portable ramps can be placed outside a business when someone in a wheelchair rolls up, making the building accessible.
August 17, 2013 - 11:30 AM

VERNON - Older buildings often don't have a level entranceway, making it tough, if not impossible, for seniors with walkers or people in wheelchairs to get inside. Small businesses don't always have the money for expensive renovations.

But help is on the way. It's called the Vernon Ramp Project.

A Canadian company called Stop Gap Design Solutions is giving away the template to build portable wooden ramps that can make an entrance to a business or home wheelchair accessible.

"The company approached us and asked if we'd like to build the ramps," Venture Training program coordinator LoAnne Pickard says. "One of our front line staff, who is really interested in wood and building, said he could take some of the clients who like wood and painting and make them."

That's how the Vernon Ramp Project was born.

"Whether it be a restaurant or other business, even a private home or seniors residence, it's a portable ramp," Pickard says. It comes with different heights to fit a variety of entranceways.

Local companies are donating all the supplies. "Timber Mart is providing the wood. Fisher's Hardware is donating the hardware and Cloverdale Paint is giving us the paint," she says.

The people at Venture Training will come out and measure the entrance, go build the ramp, and provide it to the business or home owner free of charge.

Because the ramps are portable, a business can store it away and bring it out when it's needed.

"Newer buildings are required to have wheelchair accessible entryways when they're built," according to Vernon and District Chamber of Commerce GM George Duffy. "The older buildings don't."

So far, there the project has built a pair of ramps. One is at a local care facility and the other is at Venture Training's thrift shop on 31 Avenue just down from Surplus Herby's.

The goal is to create awareness about barriers that prevent people from enjoying some of the amazing buildings and businesses in the city. It also will help private businesses to embrace the upcoming Disabilities Act Built Environment Standard which will make it law for businesses to be barrier free.

If you interested in getting ramp built or helping out with the program, give Garth Wells at the Vernon and District Association for Community Living a call. His number is 778-475-5525.

To contact the reporter for this story email, or call 250-309-5230.

The Stop Gap ramps being built by volunteers in Ontario for a project in that province.
The Stop Gap ramps being built by volunteers in Ontario for a project in that province.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013
InfoTel News Ltd

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