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LETTER: More benches required in PQB for mobility challenged people

‘We shouldn’t even have to ask’

If you believe that there should be more benches on streets and trails in PQB to give mobility challenged people reasonable access to their surroundings, please sign the petition to that effect on https://chng.it/JBWW5cRvSM.

To be ‘mobility challenged’ varies from person to person but it includes anyone with mobility issues that limit their access to venues and services.

I consider myself very fortunate to still be able to walk. For short distances, for instance from the parking lot to the store, I can walk unaided. For distances a little longer in town, I use my cane. If I go for a walk at the Qualicum Beach walkway or Parksville boardwalk, I use my walking poles and rest on one of the several benches located there as needed.

I rarely walk anywhere else in town or on any other trails by myself, including those qualified as accessible, because there are too few, or simply no benches.

Currently, ‘accessibility’ on trails is based on whether or not the terrain is easy enough for a wheelchair. However, for people like me with mobility issues not confined to a wheelchair, these trails are simply not accessible because places to rest are too far in between.

I understand the plight of people confined to a wheelchair and I am very happy that walkways, public areas and trails are made more accessible to them. I do my very best to remain active and keep my legs strong. I am not alone in this situation. Most people don’t end up in a wheelchair suddenly.

Now that the Town of Qualicum Beach has removed several of the few existing benches instead of adding to them, I think it’s time for the mobility challenged population of PQB and their families, friends and supporters to speak up.

We’re talking about benches here; not a hospital, not a recreation centre, just benches so we, too, can go for a walk. We shouldn’t even have to ask.

Louise Prud’homme

Qualicum Beach

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