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Mobility device still needs support

Off-road wheelchair to leave community barring financial support

A lack of funding may mean the return to Vancouver of the TrailRider, an off-road wheelchair which has been in the community since last summer.

CC Duncan, an advocate for the TrailRider who brought the chair to Powell River on a loan basis to drum up support, will be returning the chair at the end of May barring any last minute funding. Duncan presented the mobility device to many organizations and businesses in town and although enthusiasm and offers of volunteer work have been plenty, financial contributions have been slow coming.

The TrailRider is a rickshaw-type wheelchair that allows people with mobility issues to go off-road onto trails and into nature, something which otherwise they are mostly unable to experience. The chair has a wide wheel underneath and two long handles extending from either end of the chair. Two “sherpas” push and pull the chair along trails with the handles, guiding the rider through the backcountry.

The TrailRider costs $7,000 to purchase and keep in the community. Once having bought the chair, the idea is to rent it out by the day as well as coordinate its use with local schools and camps. Duncan and others formed the Powell River Mobility Opportunities Society to work toward this goal but they are still coming up short to buy the chair.

“The bottom line is it’s got to be paid for,” said Duncan. “We’re just not in a position to buy this thing outright.”

Donations can be made through the society’s website at and all funds go through the British Columbia Mobility Opportunities Society (BCMOS) out of Vancouver, which developed the TrailRider and coordinates programs surrounding it. Additional information on the TrailRider and volunteering can also be found on the website.