Accessibility Advisory Committee Chair George Atamanenko got full endorsement from council Tuesday to pursue making Williams Lake the Rural Accessibility Capital of B.C. Monica Lamb-Yorski photo

Accessibility Advisory Committee Chair George Atamanenko got full endorsement from council Tuesday to pursue making Williams Lake the Rural Accessibility Capital of B.C. Monica Lamb-Yorski photo

Making Williams Lake rural accessibility capital of B.C. still a dream

Accessibility Advisory Committee chair George Atamanenko continues to pursue making Williams Lake more accessible.

George Atamanenko is still holding out for Williams Lake to become the Rural Accessibility Capital of B.C. something he thinks is warranted because Rick Hansen is from the lakecity.

For years the Accessibility Advisory Committee chair has been suggesting it and during a presentation at Tuesday’s regular city council meeting he said the committee now wants to develop a strategic path to achieve that goal by 2024.

Council fully endorsed the goal.

Mayor Walt Cobb said accessibility is “catching on” in the region.

“I do know there are a couple of lodges in the rural area that have become wheelchair accessible and I know 108 Mile House made a wheelchair accessible trail,” Cobb told him. “I am on the Barkverville Heritage Board and we just put a bunch of accessible trails in from the campsite.”

Cobb asked Atamanenko if he knows how much it costs to build an accessible home and asked him to gather information from builders for an idea of the costs.

“We talked about this one before and if there was a minimal cost that would be required, and if you do it while you are constructing it it is better than doing it afterwards,” Cobb said. “It would be interesting if we could develop bylaws that would make it more workable.”

In 2017 Williams Lake Association for Community Living B.C. purchased a fully-accessible home in the Westridge area that is presently valued at $302,000 according to B.C. Assessment Authority. It was built in 2009 and previously owned by someone in a wheelchair.

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Atamanenko said even if people modify their homes so someone in a wheelchair can come for a visit, that’s a move in the right direction.

Other goals for the committee in 2018 include continuing to grow the diversity of the committee’s membership, re-introduce the Williams Lake Wheelchair Accessible Taxi Fleet bylaw and promote inclusion and accessibility in all aspects of community life.

Each year the Accessibility Award of Merit is given out and presently the city is asking for nominations from the community of groups, individuals or businesses that have made a significant contribution to improve accessibility within the City of Williams Lake.

Nominations will be accepted until April 20, 2018.

They can be submitted to the attention of Cindy Bouchard e-mail cbouchard@williamslake.ca, fax 250-392-4408 or mail to the Williams Lake Accessibility Advisory Committee, attention Cindy Bouchard, City of Williams Lake, 45 Mart Street , Williams Lake B.C. V2G 1N3.