Jacquelyn Perry returns to the beach after a long absence

Jacquelyn Perry returns to the beach after a long absence

LETTERS: High time for equal accessibility

Editor:

Re: At last, Perry gets her day at the beach, June 24.

Editor:

Re: At last, Perry gets her day at the beach, June 24.

We read the story about Jacquelyn Perry, and while we are happy that she will now get to enjoy what most of us take for granted, it is disappointing that in the year 2016 that this is ‘newsworthy’.

In Canada – Metro Vancouver in particular, which touts itself as one of the most accessible cities in the world – we are still lagging far behind our neighbours to the south. Such examples are seen not only in lack of access to beaches, but also in poorly designed parking, ramps, curb letdowns, etc. that often don’t meet code, which is especially unacceptable for new construction. Public transit buses often pass by people who use wheelchairs.

With all things in life, they change as are the needs of people with disabilities. What was great 20 years ago, isn’t necessarily so today.

Most malls and big-chain stores never upgrade access. Parking for those who require wider spaces is still not adequately addressed nor are ramps in new buildings. They are often so steep that a person in a manual chair cannot navigate them.

We have a Charter of Rights, Sec. 15, that is supposed to guarantee our safety and access.

Nice to hear Perry’s story – she should have been there years ago as our American neighbours have.

The Americans with Disabilities Act is so far ahead of our Canadian regulations and codes.

We have personally experienced the pleasure of using public beaches in the U.S. that have “beach wheelchairs” available at lifeguard stations, and bus drivers who themselves enforce the ADA.

It’s time that Canada gets with the program and enacts similar federal laws that support equal access for all of its citizens.

Kim Vlchek Egger & Hans Egger, Surrey