Accessability an Issue in Community – Leduc Representative – Alberta, CA

January 30 th, 2009

Editor:

Joanne Sinclair’s letter in the Representative should make us furious. Ongoing problems have controlled the function of the Handibus for years. The access
hours for seniors/handicapped are extremely limited, restricted by obligations for the students whose rides financially support the system.

Buses are not the only problem for seniors/handicapped in Leduc — imagine the
difficulties entering the Leduc hospital. Friends, when visiting the hospital, say that they feel they will be the patient by the time they walk up the
steps to the entrance, and are afraid that they will fall walking down the steps to the parking lot.

A written complaint was sent to the hospital 10 years
ago (Disability Access Committee) and also repeated two years ago – no improvements noted.

At the hospital, the two handicapped underground parking spaces are often full. In the winter, walking from the outside handicapped parking positions across the icy road, and up the steps is a scary journey.

The bathroom across from the X-ray dept. at the Leduc hospital has a wheelchair sign at the door. There is no automatic door opener, therefore, no independence
for wheelchair individuals attempting to enter. The door swings in to another door with no automatic door opener – since this door swings out, it is impossible
for someone in a wheelchair to open that door without assistance.

In the wash up area, if you are in a wheelchair, the counter is too high, and the soap/hand towels are impossible to reach without assistance.

When the post office was built on 50 Ave. there was no automatic door opener included in the construction — even through it is a federal building. The
Disabilities Access Committee contacted Ottawa and the door openers were added.

The stores on 50 Ave. are difficult/impossible to enter, but structural changes can happen only when older stores are being remodelled. Handicapped parking
spaces can be used by anyone if there is no visible upright sign in front of the space, as in court, the lawyers can say that the pavement sign was not
visible -paint worn off or covered with snow…..case
lost.

Store aisles may be packed with merchandise which limits wheelchair movement. This also happens in front of elevators (often freight) as hotels and stores
storage block the entrances. A senior group, decided not to have our Christmas meal at the curling rink due to the steep stairs to the 2nd floor, plus
the alternative difficulty of finding the freight elevator.

How accessible are steps/doors to your doctor’s, dentist’s, insurance agent’s, church’s offices, hotels & motels?

Our Disability Access Committee members became too old to continue the fight for improved facilities for the handicapped – so our group no longer exists.
But, Joanne Sinclair should not have to fight on her own to live and travel in Leduc. Please help Leduc become an accessible city for all residents.

Helen Atkinson

Article ID# 1411255

Reproduced from http://www.leducrep.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=1411255