Kathy Le, Video Journalist
Published Friday, September 13, 2019
For a handful of wheelchair-dependent, southeast Calgary apartment residents, getting into and out of their building is proving to be a very difficult task.
Robin Cummings says she and at least five or six other residents rely on a wheelchair or scooter to get around, but there isn’t an automatic door opener at the two entrance doors to help facilitate the process.
“We have to use our hands. One hand to hold the door open and one hand to try and operate a scooter to get in two sets of doors,” said Cummings.
There are other exit doors at the apartment building, which provides low-income housing, but Cummings said those lead to stairs. The only door that leads to a single ramp is the front.
Cummings says she has taken the issue to her building manager, but says he rejected her request to install the automatic opener
“I was a little pissed because of the fact people need it and it’s not like we’re asking for a barbecue or something you know? This is something that’s needed,” she said.
Sean Crump with Universal Access says under the Alberta Building Code, private residential buildings aren’t required to have an automatic door opener.
“Commercial buildings under different classification do need to have the automatic doors in place however the residential buildings and these types of buildings don’t,” Crump said.
CTV News reached out to the landlords of Horizon Housing and were told they were never made aware of the issue until we called them, however, before adding that Horizon is committed to providing safe and accessible homes for their tenants.
“You’re making us aware of it and now we’ll be looking at all the options to offer accessibility,” said Arianne Brady, Director of stakeholder relations with Horizon Housing.
“We are working with our good partners at CMHC to access funding that would improve accessibility across our portfolio,” she said. “And I think there is always open mindedness when it comes to residents who are experiencing challenges within their home and within the building in general.”
Crump said he and a member of the city have put in a request to amend the building code to ensure private residential buildings have automatic door openers.