A file of motorized scooters waited patiently to get into Sidney’s SHOAL Centre on Saturday, June 3 after parading through the streets of town.
Each year the first Saturday of June marks Access Awareness Day in the community.
“It’s a way of helping community members draw on services they might not always be aware of,” said Brian Losie, one of the people who spearheaded the initiative five years ago. “We’re trying to broaden it to a year ‘round thing.”
The day began at 10 a.m. with a scooter rodeo led by Second World War veteran Norman Reid. The parade ended at the SHOAL Centre, where the Accessibility Fair later took place until 2 p.m.. Informational displays regarding hearing loss, vision impairment and mobility issues were set up in the auditorium and representatives from a number of different accessibility organizations were in attendance to answer accessibility-specific questions.
Sidney Acting Mayor Cam McLennan said to the crowd that access awareness is important and getting feedback from people with accessibility issues helps inform the Town’s decisions on things such as widening sidewalks and the like.
This year the Jeannette Hughes Accessibility Award was presented to the Star Cinema. The Cinema’s accessibility has grown from welcoming scooters, walkers and wheel chairs, to controlling volume levels, to offering open captions on the screen for those hard of hearing.
“It’s an honour; I think it’s incredibly sweet,” said Sandy Oliver, owner of Star Cinema. “There’s obviously more that we can do and so much more you wish you could do … but we just try and promote it because I don’t think a lot of people know what we offer.”