Accessibility committee surveys wheelchair taxi option

The city’s accessibility committee continues to push for improvements in Williams Lake.

During a presentation to council committee chair George Atamanenko outlined the group’s activities in 2013.

One of the highlights was a meeting with the Williams Lake Business Improvement Association, where the committee encouraged building owners and leasees to upgrade older buildings, he said.

“We started about two years ago to look at the existing parking plan,” Atamanenko said. “We have pushed for more parking spaces and come up with a few extra. It’s ongoing, it’s not as if the parking spaces are fixed.”

Making accessible housing visible in the community is important so the committee challenged the Williams Lake Construction Association to provide a model building or house.

The committee has also developed a survey to explore whether there is a demonstrated need for a wheelchair accessible taxi in Williams Lake.

“We did have one here many years ago,” Atamanenko said. “It changed ownership, but we’ve met the owner and his wife last month. He is living in Golden but wants to come here.”

Last week the city posted the survey online at Paper copies are available at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex and at city hall.

“Certainly people living in residential facilities, living in apartments still require transportation,” Atamanenko said. “Let’s enforce the legacy of Rick Hansen and always have that in the back of our minds.”

He also reminded residents to nominate people for the city’s accessibility award.

Coun. Surinderpal Rathor, liaison to the committee, encouraged everyone in the community to get involved with the survey.

“The taxi company involves two issues — capital investment and operating,” Rathor said. “I made it very clear to the company that city council cannot support any private business over another, so there’s no help from the council on that matter.”

A wheelchair accessible taxi would provide services for those who need transportation not provided through regular handyDART services, the city said in a press release Friday.

Registered handyDART clients would be eligible for spontaneous travel when handyDART cannot accommodate their travel needs. Currently, handyDART is available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The survey will be available online until March 31, 2014. The committee welcomes all feedback. For more information, contact Manager of Active Living Deb Radolla at 250-392-1788.

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