POWELL RIVER, B.C. – The push is on to make facilities across Powell River more accessible.

At their June 20th meeting, council members voted to support a grant application to the Rick Hansen Foundation.

The grant is for up to $120,000 to improve accessibility at the City Airport, Willingdon Beach Park, Dwight Hall, City Hall, Recreation Complex and Westview Harbour.

Mayor Dave Formosa said the city created an audit for all of its municipal buildings, to assess their accessibility.

“So we have $20,000 for each building, to put towards accessibility. We don’t know if we’ll get the grant. If we do, great, if not, we’ll slowly pick away at these issues ourselves and get them dealt with over time.

The Rick Hansen Foundation’s application deadline is June 30th.

City staff will be submitting six applications as part of this intake, one for each site.

Project highlights include:

City Airport
Improve front entrance accessibility through the installation of automatic door openers.
Modification of wheelchair ramp to proper slope and orientation
Full renovation of public washrooms to become universally accessible

Westview Harbour
– Reorientation of the office so that counters are publicly accessible and the front entrance is facing the east parking lot.
– New signage to locate washrooms and improvement of washroom areas to become more universally accessible, through the installation of power assist doors and remounting of dispensers at accessible heights.

Willingdon Beach Park
– Create an additional disabled parking stall.
– Upgrade public washrooms to become universally accessible through new power assist doors, improved exterior lighting, new toilets, remounting of dispensers at proper heights and additional signage.
– Explore the possibility of adding an accessible pathway from the logger sports disabled seating area down to the washroom facility.

Dwight Hall
Create an additional disabled parking stall.
Installation of power assist door opener on front entrance and addition of wheelchair-accessible ramp on the south side of the building.
Modification of washrooms to become accessible.

City Hall
– Improve accessible parking through the addition of 1 more stall on Duncan St. and 2 stalls in the South parking lot with proper signage.
– Creation of 1 universal accessible washroom on main floor for staff.
– Replace all interior door handles with lever style handles and modification of front reception counter to include proper height and knee space.

Recreation Complex:
– Installation of new sliding automatic front doors at the East and West entrances.

Formosa said there are many accessibility issues that need to be resolved in municipal buildings.

“For instance, in the complex, to get from the top to the bottom, if you’re in a wheelchair, you’ve got to wheel all the way around the building and it’s a real hassle. That’s an easy one, it should be an elevator,” Formosa said.

“But that’s an easy one. There are many more things. Doors, size of doors, push automation on the doors, ramps, accessible stairways that are not accessible. Just on and on and on. We’re hopeful that we can get this grant and it’s much needed in this ageing community.”