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City gets $80k grant for accessibility upgrades

Powell River is getting more accessible.

The city has been given an $80,000 grant to invest in upgrades from the Rick Hansen Foundation and the BC Accessibility Grants program. The improvements are going in at the Recreation Complex, City Hall, Powell River Airport, and Dwight Hall. Each of the facilities will be allocated up to $20,000.

“These are significant barriers that we’re removing,” said Manager of Recreation, Neil Pukesh.

“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 has started with the installation of new sliding glass doors at the upper east entrance of the building. The city says they’ll allow for better access to the Evergreen Theatre. A new set of sliding doors will be installed at the west entrance in the coming weeks, providing improved access to amenities, including 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,” said 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.”

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Pukesh added, parents with strollers, youth with hockey bags, and customers that 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 accessibility issues in our facilities that need to be addressed, such as an elevator and interior improvements,” said 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. All projects are to be completed by September 2020.

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