A new member with years of experience working in long-term care has been appointed to the City of Williams Lake Accessibility Advisory Committee.
Tamara Bush’s appointment was endorsed unanimously by city council at a meeting in October.
“Accessibility has been a big issue. I’ve worked in long-term care with seniors since 1987,” Bush said.
Even pushing strollers when her children were small made her realize which buildings were easier to get in and out of.
“There are also many young people in our community who are in wheelchairs, and people using walkers and canes. It’s a big thing in our community.”
Bush said she was approached by the Old Age Pensioners Organization to be its representative on the committee.
“To have this committee and be under the city council’s direction is really great,” Bush said. “Williams Lake has come a long way and it’s nice to see things improving but there are other issues people aren’t aware of.”
Sometimes those issues can be heavy doors or entrances that have a lip on the ground and means someone in a wheelchair needs help.
Echoing the wish of former committee chair, George Atamanenko, Bush said she would like to see Williams Lake become the accessibility capital of B.C. especially because it’s the hometown of Rick Hansen.
“It would be nice for us to be the leading community in accessibility. I know the bridge and path over to the RC Cotton site are accessible and the City is looking at getting a grant to possibly pave some of the trails so they are more accessible.”
Packed gravel is good for some but not for others, she added.
Recalling when Ray Woods was the mayor, Bush said it was at time the City started making curbs lower.
“We did a community event with some of the aldermen sitting in wheelchairs just to see what it was like to wheel around and things did improve. I was the recreation therapist at Deni House at that time.”
Bush moved to Williams Lake as a child and attended Marie Sharpe Elementary School.
Her father was the public health inspector and her mom was the manager of Canada Employment and Immigration.
Maureen Straza is the accessibility committee chair and said she is looking forward to working with Bush on the committee.
“As everyone’s accessibility challenges are unique, we need to hear from the general public what those challenges and obstacles are,” Straza said. “The AAC welcomes ideas and input on how Williams Lake can become accessible and inclusive for everyone.”
Straza said for the public to please let the committee know so that improvements can be made, by submitting thoughts and ideas to the website at http://williamslake.ca/267/Accessibility-Advisory-Committee or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.