In 2013 the congregation of St. Andrew’s United Church embarked on a major fundraising project to install a small elevator in the church building.
For years, it was evident that such an addition was essential to improve accessibility within the church for elders and for persons with disability issues.
Thanks to community donations, a very successful congregational appeal, several fundraising events, and major funding from the government of Canada’s Enabling Accessibility in Communities program, from a City of Williams Lake/Cariboo Regional District Grant for Assistance, and from a project grant from the B.C. Rehabilitation Foundation, by December of 2014 the necessary financing to fully underwrite this project was in place.
This January, the appropriate permits were obtained, an engineering firm and a project contractor were retained, and a contract was signed to purchase the elevator.
By the third week of the new year, construction of the lift-way was begun.
Much of the work is being done by volunteers from the church congregation, and it is proceeding well.
The shaft is now almost complete, with only some gyprock and finishing work to do.
By the end of March the project will be ready for the installation of the elevator mechanism itself, supplied by Roberts Lifts of Delta, B.C.
After that there will remain only the finishing, trim work, and painting, and then the final inspection.
The elevator is a two to three person lift which can carry up to three adults, or a scooter/wheelchair with its passenger and one attendant.
It will certainly alleviate the current situation where people must either negotiate a steep set of stairs or go around the outside of the building to get from one level to the other.
A small area in the church library and a small meeting room downstairs had to be sacrificed in order to make room for the construction but the end result will be well worth these minor changes.
The congregation of St.Andrew’s is looking forward to the competition of this project. They would like to thank everyone in the community who has provided support, either through monetary donations or with volunteer labour.
It is hoped that with improved accessibility, more community oriented events can be held in the church building and that more people, especially those who may have mobility challenges will feel comfortable and more able to attend the many functions offered there.