It’s a warm, sunny summer evening in Williams Lake and while a local resident would love to go for a boat ride, it is not that easy.
Brayden Methot, 30, sustained a C-4 spinal injury after being a passenger in a vehicle collision seven years ago.
He said if there is no dock in the water at a boat launch then he needs four friends to lift him into a boat.
“It only takes one person to help me if I can get in off a dock,” he said. “Last year it was at the end of August and we still didn’t have the dock in at Scout Island. “
To prove his point he met the Tribune at the Scout Island boat launch and arranged for his friends to arrive with a boat.
He wanted to demonstrate how much effort it would take to get him in the boat when the dock is not there.
Once the boat departed without him, he took the Tribune to the Dutch Point boat launch on South Lakeside, where the city did some parking improvements.
If he wants to get into a boat and there is no dock available, that is where he goes.
It is a little easier to be lifted into a boat there, however, the parking is limited for his large van which is equipped with a lift.
The approach to the water is fairly steep and Methot would not be able to get out of his van if it was parked on an angle closer to the water.
Parking is also an issue at both locations, he added.
“I’ve received tickets for parking in the wrong spot.”
Methot is hoping by raising awareness things will improve.
“From a dock the difference is only about five inches to get me in a boat.”
City councillor Scott Nelson said the city is striving to develop a fully-accessible boat launch for people in a wheelchair or with other accessibility difficulties so they can have full access to the lake.
“That’s part of the plan we are incorporating and we should have some drafts available for the public to come and look at this fall,” Nelson said Friday, July 3.
As for the dock at Scout Island he said it was put in on Tuesday, June 29, however, he wants to see a bigger and wider boat launch somewhere on the lake.
“It will really open up to the lake to the community,” he added.
Maureen Straza leads the city’s accessibility advisory committee and said previously the committee has not looked at docks on the lake in terms of accessibility, but she will be bringing it to the next meeting.
“Unfortunately that won’t be until September, but I have left a message with our liaison at the city to call me back regarding this issue.”
Straza said she appreciated the fact Methot contacted the Tribune about the issue.
“I’m sure that there are many people who cannot go boating on Williams Lake with their families and friends because of this barrier. Hopefully we can help find a solution.”
Methot is also working towards getting his driver’s licence to operate his van.
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