Smithers Mayor, Taylor Bachrach took part in a ride along with two members of the Measuring up the North Committee to address some issues of accessibility and the improvements Smithers desperately needs.
“The purpose of today is because the Mayor wanted to have a first hand experience of what it’s like if you’re handicapped and have to ride one of these things around town,” Measuring up the North Committee Chair Margie Lubbers said as she motioned to her scooter.
“There are some bad spots you have to go over or around and he wanted to have a look for himself, so I said okay we’ll do that.”
With a growing elderly population and the need to be an inclusive community the Mayor took a tour of town in a scooter Thursday afternoon to witness first hand the kind of accessibility infrastructure Smithers is lacking.
“I’m looking forward to two things: one is the opportunity to learn a little bit more about some of the accessibility challenges out there in the community and to see some of the improvements we’ve invested in over the years in terms of making it easier for people to access the curbs and sidewalks,” he said.
“I’m also looking forward to riding a mile in the seat of someone who relies on scooters to get around town. I think it will help me see things from their perspective a little bit better.”
Minimal curb-cuts and roads are a constant struggle for some citizens who require a wheel chair or motorized scooter to get around. Including finding handicapped accessible washrooms in the downtown core as well as a place to charge up scooters and other motorized vehicles that help citizens with a handicap.
“Somebody just pointed out to me that we don’t have any public bathrooms especially along the perimeter trail,” said Lubbers.
“This can be a problem, especially out of town people
“Those of us who live here usually know where there is a bathroom before we leave the house but out of town people might not.”
In the attempt to achieve inclusivity within Smithers the Mayor will be taking these concerns back to the rest of council and perhaps in the near future improvements can be made.
However, for now Lubbers just hopes that something can be done sooner rather than later because, as she points out, what’s good for one is good for all.
“I’m hoping that we’ll get a few more curb-cuts where they’re mostly needed,” Lubbers said.
“Those are handy not only for people like me but for people who are pushing three or four kids in a baby carriage. If it’s easier for me, it’s easier for everybody.