Approximately 20 residents from the region came to the Terrace Sportsplex on Nov. 9 to discuss the development of accessibility legislation for the province with the Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction Shane Simpson . (Natalia Balcerzak/Terrace Standard)

Public responds to ministry’s visit to Terrace discussing disability, accessibility issues

North is lacking in services, residents say

Earlier this month, the Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction Shane Simpson visited Terrace to discuss the development of accessibility legislation for the province.

Approximately 20 residents from the region came to the Terrace Sportsplex on Nov. 9 to share their thoughts and experiences on how to shape the accessibility legislation for B.C. that will oversee new laws, standards and policies to better serve people with disabilities.

“It’s been a great discussion here because you hear from people, about the uniqueness of their community, the demographics and the region,” says Simpson. “We’re been hearing about the challenges for communities like Terrace, and what it means in terms of services and resources.”

Split into three round tables at the consultation session, residents discussed and brainstormed ideas that would help create a more accessible city for them. At the event attended Caleb Brousseau with his wife Andrea Brousseau, both of who have to make daily arrangements to get around Terrace with their disabilities.

“I feel like Terrace, with as far as we are, is a little behind time compared to a bigger population,” says Caleb. “The further away you are, the harder it is for everyone to understand what is necessary for you to be able to get into places.”

READ MORE: Ministry comes to Terrace to discuss disability, accessibility issues

As an example, Caleb notes that signage is a big issue for people with disabilities in Terrace as there often is no proper directions on how to alternatively navigate a place with stairs if using a wheelchair or other forms of mobility support.

“If you were to be in most cities, on the front of the building they’ll tell you how the access works… like if the building has stairs in the front they’ll have a full map on how to get to the proper accessible location,” he says. “Terrace doesn’t have that at all.”

He adds that if supportive machinery like lifts or elevators break down in the city then it can take a while for that to get repaired because there are no specialists in the area to fix it immediately, which then bars accessibility into that building or area.

READ MORE: Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture visits Nass Valley

For many people with disabilities, Andrea says it’s as simple as having all the right equipment working and openly available to be able to lead a fulfilling life.

“If you can get into the place that you work and you have a washroom accessible to you there, then all of a sudden instead of just being reliant on government support you are supporting yourself as an individual because these additional barriers have been removed, which is just a positive for everybody,” explains Andrea. “That also leads to a less sedentary lifestyle, which is a challenge for all of us I think, and that will save costs in the long run for the healthcare system.”

Simpson says British Columbia is the largest province in Canada without some form of legislation to help identify, remove and prevent barriers experienced by people with disabilities, so the ministry held ten consultation sessions as part of their community engagement program to hear directly from residents in different areas. The ministry reports 24.7 per cent (926,100) of British Columbians have reported a disability, and the statistic is expected to increase as the population ages.

So far, four provinces (Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, and Nova Scotia) and the Government of Canada have established accessibility legislation.

The minister says the tour was an informative and productive part of their engagement program, and looks forward to reviewing important issues mentioned by B.C. residents.

“It’s been a good conversation and I think you’ll always find some people who will tell you the things that we need to do better as a government and things even local government can do to improve lives.”


 


natalia@terracestandard.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Artist Mike Dangeli gives his son, Hayetsk, a shoulder ride on Oct. 4. (Mike Dangeli/Instagram)
Skeena Voices | ‘The culture and the art saved my life’

Terrace-based artist shares stories of the journey that brought him here

The City of Terrace now requires masks at all indoor City facilities. (File Photo)
Masks to be required in all indoor City of Terrace facilities

Requirement comes as B.C. sees increase in COVID-19 cases

Northern Health saw 14 cases in one day earlier this week, the highest in one day since the beginning of the pandemic. (Image courtesy CDC)
Northern Health sees highest number of new COVID-19 cases in one day

Oct. 27 saw the highest number of new cases in the Health Authority since the start of the pandemic

Physical distancing signs are a common sight in B.C. stores and businesses. THE CANADIAN PRESS
272 more COVID-19 cases for B.C., outbreak at oil sands project

Three new health care outbreaks, three declared over

This house at 414 Royal Ave. became notorious for its residents’ and visitors’ penchant for attracting police. It was also the site of a gruesome torture in August 2018. It was demolished in 2019. KTW
6-year sentence for Kamloops man who helped carve ‘rat’ into flesh of fellow gang member

Ricky Dennis was one of three men involved in the August 2018 attack

Cpl. Nathan Berze, media officer for the Mission RCMP, giving an update on the investigation at 11:30 a.m., Oct. 30. Patrick Penner photo.
VIDEO: Prisoner convicted of first-degree murder still at large from Mission Institution

When 10 p.m. count was conducted, staff discovered Roderick Muchikekwanape had disappeared

Among the pumpkin carvings created this year by Rick Chong of Abbotsford is this tribute to fallen officer Cont. Allan Young.
Abbotsford pumpkin carver’s creations include fallen police officer

Rick Chong carves and displays 30 pumpkins every year

An online fundraising campaign in support of the six-year-old boy, Edgar Colby, who was hit by a car on Range Road Oct. 25 has raised more than $62,000 in a day. (Submitted)
$62K raised in 1 day for boy in coma at BC Children’s after being hit by vehicle in Yukon

The boy’s aunt says the family is “very grateful” for the support they’ve received from the community

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Health care employees take extensive precautions when working with people infected or suspected of having COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
WorkSafeBC disallows majority of COVID-19 job injury claims

Health care, social services employees filing the most claims

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole rises during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Wednesday October 28, 2020. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)
Conversion therapy ban gets approval in principle, exposes Conservative divisions

Erin O’Toole himself voted in favour of the bill, as did most Conservative MPs

CBSA. (Black Press Media File)
4 sentenced in B.C. steroid smuggling, distribution ring that spilled into U.S.

Canadian Border Services Agency announced the results of a lengthy investigation it called ‘Project Trajectory’

Most Read