With only 31 per cent of Trail residents casting a ballot in the last municipal election, members of Trail council expressed concern that the change of access at the Trail Memorial Centre (TMC) entrance could deter turnout on general voting day in November.
That day, curbside voting is an option for people with mobility challenges, explained Michelle McIsaac, Trail’s chief election officer.
That means if someone is brought to the voting place but can’t make their way into the facility, he or she can wait in the vehicle and election staff is notified.
“We will bring the ballot out to the vehicle and the voter can mark their ballot from there,” she added.
McIsaac reminds voters that parking stalls at the front of the Memorial Centre can be accessed by driving through the parking lot and around the back of the building.
And it isn’t the only way to cast a ballot for Silver City voters with mobility issues.
Advance voting opportunities will open Nov. 5 and Nov. 12 at the Trail Aquatic and Leisure Centre on Columbia Avenue in East Trail.
Voting stations will be in the facility’s multipurpose room from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. those two Wednesdays. The location is wheelchair accessible and has a drop off spot at its front doors.
Additionally, special voting opportunities are set for Trail residents living in care facilities on Nov. 14 at designated times.
Eligible electors living in Columbia View Lodge will be able to cast a ballot from 10:30 a.m. until noon that day; Rose Wood Village residents from 1 p.m. until 2:30 p.m.; then the voting booths will move to Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital from 3 p.m. until 4:30 p.m.
Another option, mail ballot voting, is being offered for the first time municipally. Those with a physical challenge that affects their ability to vote during advance or general voting days; or for residents expecting to be absent during those dates can contact the city for a package on Nov. 5. To be counted, the mail ballot must be returned before 8 p.m. Nov. 15.
While the alteration to the TMC’s entrance was made to improve pedestrian safety, the slope and distance for those with physical barriers remain an ongoing concern for Trail council.
The matter was discussed during Monday’s governance meeting, and included a back-and-forth about parents stopping on the highway and allowing their children to run through the planted beds to access the building – now that there’s no drop-off point at the facility entrance.
“If you go to a hockey game or any other function in the complex, the front extension is utilized to the fullest,” said Coun. Eleanor Gattafoni Robinson. “In the real world if someone is dropping off their child in the middle of the road, then maybe we should be educating the mother or father.”
In a 5-2 vote, council passed staff recommendations to make no further changes to the front entrance to allow a drop-off area.
However, a spot will be designated for emergency vehicles only, signage and painted road markings will be added and city staff will continue to explore ways to improve the functionality of the Victoria Street parking lot.