The myCommunity BC map provides accessibility info for several Chilliwack destinations.

The myCommunity BC map provides accessibility info for several Chilliwack destinations.

New online tool provides accessibility map for people with disabilities

The myCommunity BC map provides accessibility info for nearly 1,000 locations in the province

An new online tool is making it easier for people with disabilities to find accessible places.

The myCommunity BC map was launched at findsupportbc.com around a year ago with around 400 places tagged across the province, and now, there are nearly 1,000. For example, click on the pin for Chilliwack’s Cottonwood Four Cinemas and you’ll see it checking boxes for ‘accessibility’ and ‘welcoming diversity’ while also earning little green icons for ‘fun and lively spot’ and ‘a spot to meet new people.’

Visitors can click the ‘add a place’ button on the top right to do just that, giving Esther King and others a better sense of what awaits them when they leave the controlled environment of their own home.

King has a 17-year-old daughter, named Joudelie, who needs significant help wherever she goes. She has taken Joudelie to places that have ‘accessible washrooms’ according to the letter of the law, but in reality the bathroom stall isn’t wide enough for a bigger wheelchair, or the grab bars are in the wrong place.

“Someone needs a toilet when they’re out and they can’t get into the bathroom, that’s a pretty big problem,” King said. “When you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go, and what are you going to do? I have to lift Joudelie to help her transfer onto the toilet, and if I’m tired or my back is sore on a particular day and I’m not confident there will be enough space to do that, we just don’t go. She ends up not participating in things in the community that she has every right to participate in.”

RELATED: Action plan aims to make Chilliwack more inclusive, diverse and accessible

RELATED: City of Chilliwack website offers new options for people with disabilities

When submitting a location to the map, there is a spot for users to type their thoughts on what was or wasn’t good about it. King said having reports ‘from the field’ makes her more confident going to a particular venue, and that could be beneficial for businesses who pay attention.

“When I have a really good experience I tell businesses and thank them for it,” King said. “This map can be a big part of sharing that, and what I’d eventually like to see is stickers on the windows of businesses that are truly accessible.”

Phillip Retief is a student at the University of the Fraser Valley and said the tool is great because it allows people with disabilities to gain independence.

“It’s terrible when you get to a place you were excited to go to, but you get there and realize it’s not accessible,” said Retief, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair to get around. “You really want to be a part of something, but you can’t.”

Retief remembers a trip to play mini-golf at Castle Fun Park in Abbotsford.

“When you go onto the pitch, there is a step going down, and I can’t do that with my wheelchair,” he said. “I need someone to pick me up and bring me down. It is sad when friends are down there enjoying mini-golfing and there is no access for me to join them. It feels uncomfortable and unfair, and it’s awkward because everyone knows you’re the one person who can’t do what they’re doing.”

The myCommunity BC map is based on the BC Community Asset mapping network, and icons come from Green Map, an international non-profit actively mapping assets in 65 countries around the world. More help comes from the Family Support Institute and Community Living BC.

Retief said it has the potential to make discussion about accessibility “fun and engaging,” and maybe create real progress.

“Accessibility is a work in the progress. People need feedback to learn and grow and better the services that they make available,” he said. “It opens up communication and awareness and opens up the conversation about inclusiveness.”

“With this map, it will just be nice to be confident knowing that if someone says a place accessible, it truly is.”


@ProgressSports
eric.welsh@theprogress.com

Like us on

accessibilitychilliwack

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Phil Retief doesn’t let much get in his way, but a lack of accessibility at some locations can keep him on the sideline when he wants to get involved. (Facebook photo)

Phil Retief doesn’t let much get in his way, but a lack of accessibility at some locations can keep him on the sideline when he wants to get involved. (Facebook photo)

Just Posted

Adrienne Rogers (LPN) and Tracy McConnell (RN) on the Victoria Hospice Unit. (Photo courtesy of Victoria Hospice)
Victoria Hospice bereavement counsellors dealing with a tsunami of grief

Last year, Victoria Hospice provided end-of-life care to more than 1,000 people

Paddles sit stacked and ready at a rowing regatta on Elk Lake in 2018. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria junior girls rowing team nabs first in national Row to Tokyo challenge

Young Victoria City Rowing Club members row more than 2,250 km

Habitat Acquisition Trust has received provincial funding to help restore Garry oak ecosystems on southern Vancouver Island. (Photo by Jeremy da Silva)
Funding boosts restoration efforts for Vancouver Island’s Garry oak ecosystems

Habitat Acquisition Trust will take on several Garry oak ecosystem restoration projects

A Nexii roof panel is lifted during construction of a Starbucks in Abbotsford. Alexzi Building Solutions will be building a manufacturing plant in Langford or North Cowichan to produce the sustainable construction panels. (Photo courtesy of Alexzi Building Solutions)
Langford eyed for facility to make green building alternative to concrete

Langford, North Cowichan possible sites for plant to create sustainable construction panels

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

Island Health has confirmed COVID-19 exposures at Ecole des Deux Mondes in Campbell River on May 4 and 5, and at Mill Bay Nature School in Mill Bay on April 28, 29, 30 and May 3. (Metro Creative photo)
Two new COVID-19 school exposures confirmed by Island Health

Health authority contacting anyone exposed at Ecole des Deux Mondes, Mill Bay Nature School

Most Read