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 laboratory technician holds a dose of a COVID-19 novel coronavirus vaccine candidate that’s ready for trial on monkeys at the National Primate Research Center of Thailand. (Mladen Antonov - AFP)
Interior Health reports 66 new COVID-19 infections

570 cases are active; 18 in hospital

Chris testing out the potential new van with his caregiver Kerry. Photo submitted.
Kimberley man starts GoFundMe for urgently needed wheelchair accessible van

Christopher Green, a Kimberley native currently residing in Tata Creek, has launched… Continue reading

(stock photo)
Josh Dueck named Team Canada chef de mission for 2022 Beijing Paralympics

An acclaimed Paralympic champion with local roots has been named to a… Continue reading

A woman wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 uses walking sticks while walking up a hill, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Interior Health reports 83 more COVID-19 infections overnight

46 cases are now associated with a COVID-19 community cluster in Revelstoke

What's happening at the Cranbrook Public Library
What’s on at the Cranbrook Public Library

Mike Selby The Library is now open with extended hours (with some… Continue reading

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation at the legislature, Nov. 30, 2020. (B.C. government)
Hockey team brought COVID-19 back from Alberta, B.C. doctor says

Dr. Bonnie Henry pleads for out-of-province travel to stop

B.C. Premier John Horgan on a conference call with religious leaders from his B.C. legislature office, Nov. 18, 2020, informing them in-person church services are off until further notice. (B.C. government)
B.C. tourism relief coming soon, Premier John Horgan says

Industry leaders to report on their urgent needs next week

An RCMP cruiser looks on as a military search and rescue helicopter winds down near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
B.C. Mountie, suspect airlifted by Canadian Armed Forces from ravine after foot chase

Military aircraft were dispatched from Comox, B.C., say RCMP

An 18-year old male southern resident killer whale, J34, is stranded near Sechelt in 2016. A postmortem examination suggests he died from trauma consistent with a vessel strike. (Photo supplied by Paul Cottrell, Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
“We can do better” — humans the leading cause of orca deaths: study

B.C. research reveals multitude of human and environmental threats affecting killer whales

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

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A logo for Netflix on a remote control is seen in Portland, Ore.,Aug. 13, 2020. Experts in taxation and media say a plan announced Monday by the government will ultimately add to the cost of digital services and goods sold by foreign companies. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Jenny Kane
‘Netflix tax’ for digital media likely to raise prices for consumers, experts say

The government says Canadian companies already collect those taxes when they make digital sales

Most Read