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Group wants an accessible wild

Gerry Price of Parksville’s Measuring Up Committee spoke to city council recently about the Accessible Wilderness Society’s efforts in the region.

The society was officially incorporated in 2009, with the idea that all people should be able to enjoy Canada’s great outdoors.

Price explained while it was only recently incorporated, Dan Bauer started the idea 25 years ago after a motor vehicle accident left him in a wheelchair.

Also in 2009, Shirley Bond, then Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, heard Bauer speak about their efforts and agreed it is an important goal.

Bond gave them a database of all the Crown land on Vancouver Island to find an appropriate 25 acre parcel as a pilot project for many more around the province.

They have recently settled on Roberts Lake, 40 km north of Campbell River, and are receiving a lot of support from big organizations and supporters like Nanoose Bay’s multiple Paralympic gold medalist Michelle Stilwell.

Price’s presentation to council was meant as an update on the early progress and he said the goal is to tie in accessible transportation options around Oceanside and to the new lodge at Roberts Lake.

He pointed out that accessible tourism is an increasingly important market that will only increase as the population ages.

He said the universal accessibility of cruise ships is one of the key reasons for their popularity among seniors and that by some accounts 14.3 per cent of the the Canadian population has some kind of disability.

“Making it so disabled people can be active makes for a healthier society overall,” Price added.

For more on Parksville’s Measuring Up Committee check www.accessparksville.ca. For the wilderness society visit www.awsociety.org.

 

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