Access granted

Elder care leads message behind Access Awareness Day on June 7

For people with limited mobility, getting around in Sidney is generally pretty good, says Brian Losie.

Yet access could be better.

Losie, a former member of the Town’s Healthy Community Committee and who now is the chair of the Community Development Committee, is coordinating  the Sidney Access Awareness Fair on June 7 and 8. He is leading an effort of the municipality, Peninsula Celebrations Society (host), Panorama Recreation and the Sidney All Care Residence. They will bring service providers, local businesses and politicians together at the SHOAL Centre for an Access Awareness Day fair on June 7.

“We are extending this year’s event into the next day, June 8,” Losie said.

The accessibility fair will showcase products and services available to support people with mobility issues. There will an open house at Panorama the same day and the Town of Sidney will promote its efforts to make business more accessible.

On that first day, Losie said plans are to have a few presentations, demonstrations and the presentation of the first Jeannette Hughes award. The award, he continued, is named for the late former town councillor and mobility activist.

On June 8, Losie said they’ve tapped into local events such as a scooter rodeo at Sidney All Care, a wheelchair tennis demonstration at Iroquois Park (Panorama if weather is bad), and a close-captioned movie at Star Cinema.

There are other events and presentations in the works, Losie said, the details of which are still being finalized.

Issues of hearing, vision, mental impairment and general mobility issues are all part of the awareness events that weekend, Losie said.

“The reason this resonates in Sidney is because Jeannette (Hughes) was a sparkplug on this issue.”

The fair will help people connect with the resources available on the Saanich Peninsula. Oftentimes, Losie continued, it’s the little things that can make a difference in someone’s ability to get around and enjoy their community. Such things could be as simple as picnic tables that allow people in wheelchairs to fit in. Losie said since the area has a large population of elderly, making businesses and other facilities aware of these issues can go a long way to help people move around.

Access Awareness Day starts Saturday, June 7 at 10 a.m. at the SHOAL Centre in Sidney and runs to 4 p.m.

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