Duncan needs to do more for accessibility
Dear mayor and city counsellors, Duncan, B.C.
My husband and I sold our condo in Cowichan Bay and moved to our present assisted living residence Ts’i’ts’uwatul’Lelum on Allenby Road on July 1, 2015.
It was the right move for us at the time and we enjoy being in downtown Duncan!
The first winter here was good as the weather was relatively warm and dry as usual.
The winter of 2016 was another matter, with considerable rain, snow and overcast skies. Climate change perhaps, but for those of us using scooters, wheelchairs, walkers and yes, also for those with canes or pushing baby carriages, it was an eye opener.
I found it terrifying actually, and it brought to my attention crumbling curbs, unmanageable ‘let-downs’ (one notable place is where the let-down is not even close to the crosswalk, causing all of us to travel on the road amidst constant traffic)!
One particular bug-bear for many of us on the way to the mall for shopping necessities is the Canada Avenue, Trunk Road intersection (east side of street), where we have to choose between going up a one and a half inch curb or going on a crude rocky path often filled with rain water. The curb is at such an angle that you have to ‘mount it’ and several times caused my power chair to swerve and run onto mud and snow with spinning wheels. Had someone not come along to assist, I might have backed into 4 p.m. traffic. Terrifying!
I (we), often cannot reach the signals on posts, they are too high, and to access some of them, have to venture on to gravel or sloping sidewalk. We wait until someone comes along to change the traffic signal.
Parking lot driveways slope at incredible angles and cause us to fear tip overs! Many have repeated these stories!
The 200 or so signatures I have are from our own residence and ones from Sherwood House, Wedgewood House, Duncan Manor, have letters of endorsement and support for the petition by the managers of the facility. Often I have been stopped at intersections, by folks in scooters telling me of their own difficulties with private driveways, streets with curbs but no let-downs (Kenneth Street) requiring them to go three blocks out of their way!
Sharp, right angled crossings have caused me, in snowy weather to wheel off the curb.
I have been an active, self realized person and wish very much to retain my independence and ability to function well at 82-plus years of age. My husband has early onset dementia and his independence requires a sense of safety and preservation! I hope climate change and more difficult winters won’t become the norm. There will be increasing numbers of baby boomers coming along and changes to our ways of getting around will need considerable improvements.
I must commend the city for improving some of the intersections I have seen, but a block or so outside of the core they are dreadful! These petitions only cover this immediate section of the city. Please let them come to your attention to allow us all to age gracefully and with respect.