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Councillor wants to improve accessibility at City Hall

At least one city councillor is concerned that City Hall is not accessible to the physically disabled

At least one city councillor is concerned that City Hall is not accessible to the physically disabled.

Coun. Larry Samson wants to change that and said he will be pushing for a solution to accommodate those with mobility challenges.

“At the next council meeting (Aug. 24) I’ll be bringing forward a motion asking for a staff report on upgrades and renovations to the council chambers for accessibility for people with physical disabilities,” Samson said at the Aug. 10 council meeting.

Currently, the council chambers at City Hall are not wheelchair-friendly.

The room is designed like a sports facility, where you have to walk down a set of stairs to get to your seat.

Samson said he would not only like to see that remedied, but he also wants to see the public washrooms in City Hall, which are on the bottom floor, “wheelchair accessible for the physically disabled.”

Samson said he decided to speak up about accessibility after hearing from Campbell River resident Stephen Bradley about the difficulties the physically disabled face in accessing many public buildings.

Bradley spoke to city council at its Committee of the Whole meeting in July. He told council that it’s important the city take into consideration disabled access in city streets, public spaces and centres. He also suggested council adopt a policy requiring all new buildings to be constructed barrier-free.

The issue of accessibility is not a new one to council.

Last November, the Campbell River Access Awareness Committee lobbied for the installation of beach mats so that people who use wheelchairs can access the city’s beaches. The mats, which go over top of the sand and rocks above the high tide line, link together to provide a hard surface so that people can get their wheelchairs on to the beach.

The city is considering incorporating the mats into the Robert Ostler Park upgrade project scheduled for next year.