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Williams Lake continues commitment to accessibility

City has set goals in partnership with Rick Hansen Foundation to continue to improve
Rick Hansen, in wheelchair at centre, gives the thumbs-up in front of the newly unveiled monument with dignitaries, including Surinderpal Rathor, then councillor for city of Williams Lake, on March 26, 2012. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo)

As Rick Hansen returns to Williams Lake, the city is reaffirming their commitment to becoming more accessible in a partnership with the Rick Hansen Foundation.

At their June 20 council meeting city council approved a plan for accessibility standards and set some goals for the community:

Implementing the steps necessary for all new future city-owned buildings to be designed and built to meet Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification (RHFAC) Gold; Ensuring all future major renovations of existing city-owned buildings will meet Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification; Training and designating one or more city staff to be an RHFAC Professional, to support the RHFAC process in city-owned buildings; and encouraging the building design, construction and development community in Williams Lake to adoptRHFAC as other new buildings and renovations are contemplated.

Eleven years after unveiling a monument in Rick Hansen’s honour at the Tourism Discovery Centre, Mayor Surinderpal Rathor is looking forward to once again working with Hansen.

Rathor was a city councillor in 2012 when he was in charge of raising the funds to create the monument, which includes a globe with copper lines depicting Hansen’s original Man In Motion Tour, all on top of a 12-foot stand.

Hansen attended the unveiling of the monument in 2012.

The two will meet for lunch when Hansen returns again to the community, and Rathor will be attending events with Hansen for much of Hansen’s visit, from the ribbon cutting at the Williams Lake Curling Club on their accessibility project to the opening of the Rick Hansen exhibit at the Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin, both on Thursday.

Hansen will also, of course, be the parade marshal at the Williams Lake Stampede Parade on Saturday, July 1.

“It’s a great honour,” said Rathor.

Rathor and Hansen both spoke of the strides Williams Lake has taken in accessibility over the years.

Hansen said he looks forward to celebrating the visible progress in the community.

“I’m quite excited in a tangible way to come back,” said Hansen, noting it’s not just about celebrating the progress but also about looking forward to future goals, with the city’s renewed commitment of improving accessibility.

Rathor said the city has worked closely with the Rick Hansen Foundation to improve accessibility, and the city is committed to going further.

READ MORE: Monument a symbol of what’s possible: Hansen

READ MORE: Rick Hansen returns home for Williams Lake Stampede Parade, 50 years since injury

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Ruth Lloyd

About the Author: Ruth Lloyd

I moved back to my hometown of Williams Lake after living away and joined the amazing team at the Williams Lake Tribune in 2021.
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