Council has agreed to look at the possibility of adding more handicap parking stalls around town after an East Trail advocacy service formally requested that the city address certain areas they’ve identified as lacking these specific designations.
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What prompted the Trail FAIR (Family and Individual Resource) Society to bring the issue to the council table this week, is that the group, which has been working in Trail for 40 years now, is upgrading its Columbia Ave. entrance and renovating one main floor washroom to be completely wheelchair accessible.
“This has been a feature that we have been lacking and concerned about and as such, have attained appropriate funding to make this a reality,” spokesperson Naomi Bain told council. “As we make our building more accessible, we would like to have two handicap spots created and marked outside of Trail FAIR Society on Columbia Ave.,” she continued.
“In that vein, as we expand and serve more differently-abled people, we have taken notice of the lack of handicap spots in the Greater Trail area and would love to establish a partnership with the City of Trail and other community partners to alleviate this problem.”
During council’s discussion, chief administrator David Perehudoff pointed out that the city already has a long-standing program in place associated with modifying curbs (drop downs) and through time, completed this type of work as part of normal operations.
“This issue of handicap accessibility, whether that means drop-down curbs or other issues — it’s something that remains on the agenda for staff when it comes to managing ongoing improvements to city infrastructure and how best to ensure that projects fully consider people who may have mobility challenges,” he explained.
“As an example, the recently approved 2020 Capital Budget includes funding to improve access to the washrooms at Gyro Park. In addition, further improvements will be made at the skate park and boat launch to facilitate movement of people on wheeled devices (wheelchairs),” Perehudoff said.
“And, of course, if you are going to do anything of significance then money always becomes an important consideration, and whether or not there is grant funding that would allow the city to expedite key projects identified.”
In her letter to council, Bain noted a distinct lack of handicap parking stalls in the East Trail business district, including the strip mall across from Safeway. As well, she mentioned the Trail Memorial Centre and downtown streets.
“The parking stalls are old and do not adequately fit newer, larger vehicles,” she said. “When the spots are full, it is almost impossible to open a vehicle door fully, which is required of many people with mobility issues.”
As many Trail FAIR clients access public transit, Bain also noted the poor condition of the main exchange on Cedar Ave.
This issue has been at the forefront of the regionally-run service for several years. A study between the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary, BC Transit and the City of Nelson is now underway wherein a consultant will layout new design options for the transit exchanges in both Trail and the Queen City.