For a community like Sidney, getting around town cannot be taken for granted.
With a significant population of older people, mobility and ease of access to shops, public facilities and even getting on and off sidewalks, access or the lack of it can be a serious issue.
Brian Losie, a member of the Beacon Community Services (BCS) and Town of Sidney Accessibility Committee, says Sidney is doing well in the ease with which people can access most places.
“It’s good,” he confirmed, “but we have a ways to go.”
With tapered sidewalks, he said people with limited mobility can get around easier but noted there are still some limitations. Take the waterfront walkway, Losie said. At its extreme north end, the only exits are at the top of stairs. For someone who cannot negotiate stairs, they’d have to go back. Including the route — and others — on a map or in a brochure with an indication of easier entry and exit points would help.
“As revitalization happens, we also hope private businesses consider changes that will help people with mobility issues,” he continued.
Losie said the four key messages he’d like to get across for Access Awareness Day on June 6, are: generating more information and support for people; engaging with private business; encouraging accessibility, and; collaboration.
The BCS SHOAL Centre on Resthaven Drive hosts the second annual Access Awareness Day. Losie said there will be 15 to 17 exhibitors with information on services and mobility supplies.
The event runs June 6 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Nominations are being accepted for the second Jeannette Hughes Accessibility Award.
The award is named for the late Ms. Hughes, a former Sidney town councillor and longtime advocate for easier access for people with limited mobility and disabilities.
Individuals and groups stepping up on the issue of local accessibility can be nominated by the May 15 deadline.
Forms can be found at the Beacon Community Services SHOAL Centre on Resthaven Drive or through the Town of Sidney website, sidney.ca.