Advocate Says Regina Councillor was Right to Oppose Proposed Accessible Waterslide Budget Cut

Cut would delay upgrades to waterslide at Wascana Pool
Tyreike Reid, CBC News
Posted: Dec 15, 2023

A disability advocate is backing a Regina city councillor who lashed out during a council meeting after another councillor proposed cutting the budget for an accessible waterslide.

Ward 7 Coun. Terina Nelson made strong remarks during council’s budget debates on Dec. 14 after previously approved upgrades to the slide at Wascana Pool were called into question.

“You all make me sick,” Nelson said. “How dare you take this away from the disabled community, the community that was so excited to finally go down a god damn waterslide.”

The upgrades would include a new elevator system to take people up to the top of the waterslide.

Ward 3 Coun. Andrew Stevens moved the amendment, citing cost concerns.

The project was originally expected to cost $550,000 when it was unanimously approved by council earlier this year. Now the costs have increased to $1 million.

Stevens said that money should go toward funding other accessibility upgrades at city facilities.

Nelson argued vehemently against the idea.

“This is not fair, and I hope you’re all ashamed of yourself,” she said. “Because you didn’t build proper doorways, and because you didn’t build proper entranceways, now we’re suffering for it. Shame on all of you.”

Nelson’s microphone was briefly cut during her heated remarks, but she continued speaking.

Robin East, a disability advocate and founding member of Barrier Free Saskatchewan, is supporting Nelson, saying cuts to accessibility upgrades would be a setback for the disabled community.

“It becomes very frustrating, because the city is telling everyone in that city that persons with disabilities don’t count, they are second class citizens when it comes to how they are going to approach their budgets,” he said.

East said he has spent a lot of time advocating for accessibility upgrades across the province. He said it’s especially important that disabled children and their parents have accessible places to play.

He said Regina city council needs to consider the impact the proposed cuts will have on disabled children who wish to enjoy these spaces.

“The city really needs to look at what their real priorities are and consider that the people in the city should be of the highest priority and not the last priority,” he said.

East said accessibility upgrades should not come at the cost of delaying other upgrades that have already been approved. He said city council should cut costs in other areas of the budget.

Stevens’s amendment has not been approved by council and will be reviewed by city administration.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tyreike Reid is a reporter for CBC Saskatchewan based in Regina. He can be reached at Tyreike.reid@cbc.ca

With files from Alexander Quon

Original at https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/advocates-criticize-proposed-accessible-waterslide-budget-cut-1.7061379