City of Powell River has been awarded $80,000 in funding from the Rick Hansen Foundation and the BC Accessibility Grants program to make accessibility improvements. The funds will be used at Powell River Recreation Complex, city hall, Powell River Airport and Dwight Hall, according to a city media release on Wednesday, October 9.
Each facility will be allocated up to $20,000 dollars for accessibility improvements.
“These are significant barriers that we’re removing,” stated manager of recreation Neil Pukesh in the release. “We’re greatly improving accessibility, modernizing our facilities and addressing some of the key issues that were identified in our accessibility audit that was completed last year.”
Work at the recreation complex began with the installation of new sliding glass doors at the upper east entrance of the building, which allow for better access to Evergreen Theatre, community meetings and Powell River Kings’ hockey games. A new set of sliding doors will be installed at the west entrance in the coming weeks, improving access to the pool, fitness centre and hockey rinks.
“We have a lot of patrons with mobility issues that use the west entrance and I have personally seen people get stuck, some in wheelchairs, because the doors close too quickly, or they don’t open wide enough,” added Pukesh. “These patrons usually either need someone to assist with the doors or there’s simply not enough time for it to open and close properly.”
Pukesh stated that parents with strollers, youth with hockey bags and customers who use mobility aids will no longer have to worry about facing accessibility barriers when they enter the building.
“This is just the start as we know there are still many other accessible issues in our facilities that need to be addressed, such as an elevator and interior improvements,” stated Pukesh. “We’re thankful to the Rick Hansen Accessibility Foundation and the BC Accessibility Grant program for providing us this opportunity to start the process.”
The application for funding followed a Rick Hansen Foundation audit and rating of city facilities.
A recommendation to support the application was presented to city council at a committee of the whole meeting on June 18, 2019. All projects are to be completed by September 2020.