Jacquelyn Perry

Beach access for all abilities ‘provides dignity’

Proponents behind an effort to increase beach accessibility will take their appeal to White Rock council Monday

Proponents behind an effort to increase beach accessibility for people with physical disabilities will take their appeal to White Rock council Monday.

Jill Glennie, an advisor to the Self Advocates of Semiahmoo – a group of Semiahmoo House Society members who formed to support their peers with developmental disabilities and promote inclusion – said she and several members of SAS will ask council for “beach access points” to ease the journey to the waterfront.

“We think that having properly installed access points provides more dignity,” Glennie said Wednesday.

“When one person that you love has a mobility issue, it affects everybody who wants to go to the beach.”

Earlier this year, after nearly a year of working on the initiative, SAS members – many of whom live with mobility challenges – secured a beach-accessible wheelchair for public use on the waterfront. Donated by  Peninsula father David Nash, whose son has mobility challenges, the chair has oversized wheels and a lounge-style seat, and is designed to navigate uneven, sandy surfaces.

At 26 years old, Jacquelyn Perry had waited for such access for more than half her life.

“It means to me, I can be with my friends more… not left out,” Perry told Peace Arch News in June, during a test run of the wheelchair.

It became available to the public in August, Glennie said, however, existing access points “are a bit more steep than we’re hoping for.

“When looking at adjusting them, we wanted to include the city.”

Noting the city lauds its waterfront promenade as fully accessible, Glennie said extending that access to the beach is “the next step.” SAS is open to partnering on making that a reality, she added.

“This is a celebration and this is something positive for our community to take on this project,” Glennie said. “Accessible beaches will be a wonderful thing for the City of White Rock.”

 

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