MP David Wilks; Mayor Gerry Taft

MP David Wilks; Mayor Gerry Taft

East Kootenay benefits from disability funding

Communities in the region were awarded $140,723 in funding for projects aimed at increasing accessibility for people with disabilities.

  • Aug. 21, 2014 7:00 p.m.

Trevor Crawley/Daily Townsman

Cranbrook and Kimberley, along with other communities in the region, were awarded $140,723 in funding for projects aimed at increasing accessibility for people with disabilities.

Announced by Candice Bergen, the Minister of State for Social Development, the funding will go to a pair of projects in Cranbrook and Kimberley that will make a few municipal facilities easer to access by wheelchair.

In Cranbrook, funding went to installing automatic doors at five locations that include the curling centre and Western Financial Place and an accessible washroom at city hall, while Kimberley built three accessible bridges over Mark Creek trail system.

“We’re proud to be able to support these projects, to be able to partner together with this community with individuals and groups who are helping Canadians with disabilities access the things we take for granted,” said Bergen.

In a speech in council chambers at Cranbrook city hall on Wednesday, Bergen punctuated her point with a personal anecdote.

“I have some very good friends who are in wheelchairs and have accessibility issues and sometimes we call a restaurant or call a community place and we ask ‘Are you accessible?’ and they say, ‘Yes, we are,'” Bergen said. “And you get there and they’re not accessible. The door’s not wide enough, it’s difficult to get up to the door, there might be just three or four steps, which doesn’t seem like a big deal, but when you’re in a wheelchair, that is a big deal.”

In addition to Cranbrook and Kimberley, funding was also distributed to the District of Invermere and the Valley Community Resource Society, out of the federal government’s Enabling Accessibility Fund.

Cranbrook mayor Wayne Stetski recounting a day of touring the community in a wheelchair shortly after he was elected with two local citizens who were concerned with accessibility.

“Until you’ve actually done that, spent a little time trying to make your way around, you really do not understand the challenges,” Stetski said. “I got beaten up by doors trying to get into buildings. They set me up where you can get on one of our sidewalks in Cranbrook, you can wheel down to the end, but you can’t get off.

“…We want a community that is as welcoming to all our people as possible, so over the last couple years, we’ve been on a bit of a journey to improve accessibility for people in Cranbrook.”

In addition to community projects, Bergen also put out the call for small businesses to apply for funding that is available for improving accessibility at the workplace. Roughly $5 million in grants are available with a 50/50 cost sharing between the federal government and small business project proposals with a deadline of Oct. 1st, 2014. Applications and more information can be found at: www.esdc.gc.ca/eng/disability/eaf.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A dose of COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health region

The total number of cases in the region since the pandemic began is now at 7,334

The Site C Dam location is seen along the Peace River in Fort St. John, B.C., Tuesday, April 18, 2017. The cost of British Columbia’s Site C hydroelectric dam has grown to $16 billion and the completion has been moved up a year to 2025. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
BC Liberal energy critic blasts ‘lack of transparency’ on Site C

MLA Tom Shypitka says Site C going ahead is a ‘good thing’, blames NDP for mismanagement

Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons. File photo.
Kootenay-Columbia MP supports motion condemning Uighur genocide

Rob Morrison says labelling Uighur persecution as a genocide sends a message to Chinese government

The BC Prosecution Service announced last year that it was appointing lawyer Marilyn Sandford as a special prosecutor to review the case, following media inquiries about disclosure issues linked to a pathologist involved in the matter. (Black Press Media files)
Possible miscarriage of justice in Cranbrook woman’s conviction in toddler drowning: prosecutor

Tammy Bouvette was originally charged with second-degree murder but pleaded guilty in 2013 to the lesser charge

Brent Bidston is the president of Angel Flight East Kootenay. Black Press file photo.
RDEK ponders funding for Angel Flight East Kootenay

The district is considering funding for operations or to eventually help acquire a larger plane

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read