The van is too small for everyone at Trail Association for Community Living (TACL) to go out together.
“We can’t all get out of the house at the same time in the van we currently have,” the TACL staff explain. “We have four wheelchair users and the van only holds two wheelchairs at one time. So we can’t do anything together as a group.”
That will change sooner than expected with an influx of $50,000 from the province toward the purchase of a new vehicle.
“As a non-profit organization this is a tremendous gift, and we are beyond thrilled to have received this grant,” TACL’s Tracy Fischer told the Trail Times. “We have been fundraising for this project as well, throughout the year, and will continue to do so. Last week we placed our order for a new van.”
The vehicle is customized and requires modifications, so Fischer expects it will be another six months before the new ride is in town and ready for use.
But it’s worth the wait, because the transporter will have much more value than simply four new wheels.
TACL is committed to building a more inclusive community by enhancing the quality of life for those living with significant barriers, while bettering the public’s understanding and acceptance.
In short, a larger van can help carry the inclusivity message because it will improve the group’s access to opportunities in the Greater Trail community and beyond.
“Accessible vehicles make it possible for people with disabilities to live fully and freely in their communities,” Fischer said.
TACL was one of five West Kootenay projects funded this year through the BC Community Gaming Grants program.
The largest allotment in the immediate area, $137,000, went to the Rossland and District Search and Rescue Society to fund a new hall. Black Jack’s cross country society received $30,000 for a new van, and Castlegar Search and Rescue was given $19,000 to purchase two snowmobiles.
Finally, the W.E. Graham Community Service Society was funded $16,000 to expand storage for its Slocan food bank.
“I’m happy to welcome new capital funding for five incredible local organizations,” Kootenay West MLA Katrine Conroy said in a Nov. 26 release. “These projects are set to deliver better services for people living in the West Kootenay and will improve the lives of families, seniors, and people who enjoy the outdoors.”
The province is committing $5 million in capital project grants this year and next, in support of non-profit organizations that deliver important community services like search and rescue, mobile health and child care.
The Capital Projects program is part of the annual $140 million Community Gaming Grants program supporting over 5,000 community organizations that deliver arts and culture, sport, environment, public safety, human and social services and parent advisory councils.