Local ACE program gives accessibility a boost

Improvements to accessibility are in the works thanks to a new project here in Invermere

Improvements to accessibility are in the works thanks to a new project here in Invermere.

Local accessibility group Access in the Community for Everybody (ACE) is running the summer-long Accessibility Ambassador program, which has three main objectives: increasing awareness about local accessibility issues here in Invermere; working with local business owners and public institutions to help improve accessibly to their establishments; and cataloguing the wide range of accessibility infrastructure already in the valley, said ACE accessibility ambassador Wendy Rockafellow.

Accessibility refers to making things easier not just for people with physical disabilities, but also for seniors, mothers with strollers, people with injuries and others, she added.

“Right now, one in seven people in Canada has some kind of need for accessibility, either from a disability or because of aging. That may rise to as much as 20 per cent of our total population in 20 years. Can businesses really afford not to be accessible?” Rockafellow asked. “We focus a lot on quick, cost-effective solutions.”

“Accessibility can be really daunting. A lot of businesses have good intentions, but don’t know where to start. That’s what we’re hoping to help with,” said past ACE president and Invermere councillor Spring Hawes. “Accessibility doesn’t have to mean building elevators and ramps, it can be as simple as installing a door bell, so people who can’t get into a store can let people know they need a bit of help getting in.”

ACE plans to demonstrate one of its quick and easy accessibility solution — the Roll-A-Ramp, a type of portable, roll-up yoga mat that goes over a small set of stairs and can support a wheelchair — at the Saturday, July 19th Invermere Farmer’s Market.

“Where modification isn’t feasible, this is an affordable, immediate solution,” said Rockafellow, adding Safta’s restaurant in Invermere already has one in use.

When it comes to cataloguing accessibility infrastructure and programs, there are plenty in the valley, said Rockafellow, such as the adaptive sports programs and paved hiking paths at Panorama Mountain Village, and the Lake Windermere Rowing Club’s modified rowing sculls.

“So many of these things exist; what we want to do is compile them all into one resource, so a visitor with a disability for example, can quickly find out about everything in the region,” she said.

Rockafellow will be going door-to-door to businesses in town this summer to raise awareness about the ACE program.

Both Hawes and Rockafellow think the ten-year Accessibility 2024 plan released by the provincial government in June is a good step in the right direction.

The plan outlines policies such as potentially increasing the disability assistance rate, separating disability assistance from other income assistance, and looking into family maintenance payments for families getting both disability assistance and other income assistance.

“It’s definitely a program that’s long overdue. Canada is a world leader when it comes to Paralympic sports, for instance, but when it comes to accessibility on the ground, there’s still a lot of work to do,” said Rockafellow. “It’s an ambitious plan, but absolutely great.”

Hawes has some concern that, so far, no funding has been attached to the new plan. “That’s a bit of a challenge, so I don’t know how that’s going to work.”

“It’s not always easy to find the dollars to make the changes,” agreed Rockafellow.


Just Posted

The end of an Echo
The end of an Echo

Invermere Valley Echo shuts down operations in Columbia Valley

Creating a new narrative for Canal Flats

Economic development consultant hired, lists vision for next 90 days

Princeton wildfire phots courtesy of Debbie Lyon.
UPDATE: Crews battle as wildfires rage in B.C. Interior

Crews brace for another day on B.C. firelines as no let up is likely

VIDEO: B.C. wildfires by the numbers
VIDEO: B.C. wildfires by the numbers

Wildfires continue to engulf regions of B.C.’s forests and communities.

Aerial view south of Williams Lake Friday afternoon shows dry lightning storm passing over, leaving fire starts behind. Lightning sparked more than 100 new fires Friday. (Black Press)
VIDEO: More than 180 wildfires burning across B.C.

Firefighters from other provinces called in to assist

DTSS Grad March 2017
DTSS Grad March 2017

DTSS Grad March 2017

59 cats seized in Chase
59 cats seized in Chase

59 neglected and injured cats were seized from a property in Chase

(Flickr/Andreas Eldh)
Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell dead at age 52

The singer/songwriter passed away early Thursday morning in Detroit

Paying tribute to a primeval passage
Paying tribute to a primeval passage

Uninterrupted celebrates the Adams River sockeye run in an extraordinary way.

UPDATE: Pemberton Music Festival cancelled, no automatic refunds
UPDATE: Pemberton Music Festival cancelled, no automatic refunds

In the past, the music festival located in Pemberton drew large crowds last year of 180,000 fans

Photo by: WeissPaarz.com
Medical wait times cost B.C. patients $2,300 each

New Fraser Institute report places B.C. at second worst in costs associated with long wait times

UPDATE: 22 killed at Ariana Grande concert
UPDATE: 22 killed at Ariana Grande concert

Witnesses reported hearing two loud bangs coming from near the arena’s bars at about 10:35 p.m.

A university study finds that about nine per cent of Canada’s Grade 11 and 12 students – roughly 66,000 teens – have driven within an hour of drinking and 9.4 per cent drove after using marijuana.                                 Photo: Now-
Leader file
One in three Canadian high school students have rode with drinking drivers, study reveals

Nearly one in five rode with a driver who’d been smoking pot

Top court to hear federal government’s appeal on residential school records
Top court to hear federal government’s appeal on residential school records

A lower court judge ruled to destroy the stories after 15 years unless consent is given to preserve

Most Read