Accessible Kamloops - fact or fiction?

One Man's Opinion
By Doug Collins
June 18, 2017 - 5:00am
Image Credit: City of Kamloops

KAMLOOPS — We have spent the past week talking about Access 4 All. It’s all about showcasing some of the things we’re doing to make Kamloops more accessible for those who have difficulty with accessibility. And in particular, the reopening of the newly accessible Grasslands Loop. This trail has been made more accessible for walkers, those in wheelchairs and it’s a great improvement for our City.

Over a period of time, Kamloops has become much more accessible for people with disabilities. But we’re certainly not there yet. People who have respiratory or heart conditions could use more benches on some of these trails and on some of our fields to make it possible for those people to enjoy them.

Some people can only walk short distances before tiring, and need to be able to sit. Some just cannot stand for very long because they have joint or spinal issues. Many people can’t take stairs, so it’s important that even short flights of two or three stairs have railings for people to grab onto. Even with a cane, stairs are impossible for some unless they can pull themselves up.

We’re doing better at making handicapped parking available, but it’s obvious that as people grow older, and more people survive accidents with modern medical technology, we need even more of these spaces. We’ve done a lot to provide opportunities for those with disabilities to stay in their homes longer. We have the snow angels to help seniors with snow removal, we have services for people who need their grass cut.

Our social planning council has been dealing with many of these issues. But the list of needs is long, and money is not endless. And we also have to remember that accessibility is not only something for those who are physically challenged. We have to look at those who are financially challenged too. I notice that groups like the YM-YWCA have classed for those who are only able to do limited physical work, or have limited means. These, too, are important parts of the accessibility program. Accessibility for children to have proper nourishment in schools, accessibility affects us all in different ways.

It’s something that we have to come to grips with every day, and look for ways to make improvements. Now we simply cannot afford to provide every amenity in every location at every hour of the day. Maybe some day, but that’s a ways down the road. But we are making progress. And as long as the City continues to make it a priority, and businesses make it a priority, the needs in general will be served.

Drug stores and grocery stores will deliver prescriptions and food to those who need help. It’s a tremendous service for those who can’t get out. It’s that kind of service that we need everyone to think of. How can we make things better for those who need our help. It’s a lofty goal, but the results are well worth it.