City council needs to think about handicapped access

I still favour businesses in town that accommodated me during my time of physical confinement.

Dear Sir:I have many thoughts I would like to voice regarding “Council debates access policy,” an article in your Feb. 8, 2012 issue of The Terrace Standard.

I always like to see both sides of the coin so to speak and in this case I have been a business owner and have a full understanding of multiple costs involved in running a sucessful business.

But I was also confined to a wheelchair for almost two years. Until my confinement, I had absolutley no idea what a person with a physical disability goes through. It’s much more that not accessing the odd restaurant or store.

Even though I have recovered from my injury, I still favour businesses in town that accommodated me during my time of physical confinement.

* Any idea what it’s like to not be able to shower in your own home because you can’t do stairs? I had to go and shower at the hospital , but only able to 3 days a week.

* Not being able to go to your child’s graduation because of accessibilty issues.

* Being excited to find a restaurant that you can get into but using the washroom and finding out it isn’t accessible to you even though its labeled as “handicapped”.

* Handicapped washrooms that have doors so heavy you can barely push them open and manuever your wheelchair at the same time. I think this happens a lot because the people that design these handicapped services don’t know what it like to have a disability.

Everytime someone parks in a handicap parking spot that doesn’t have a disability, I just look at them and think I would give anything to have two healthy legs to walk and run with and after paying the price of being physically disabled, mentally depressed, trying to cope with this all and financially paying for a handicap parking permit and medical costs, I then have someone take my parking spot because they are to lazy to walk a few extra metres.

Do you know how many people would love to be able to walk a few metres, but can’t. I am 46 years old and after spending the better part of two years in and out of hospitals and rehab facilities, I have now learned how to walk again.

I am left with some what of a permanent disability, but am luckier than others. So as I shuffle along like a penguin, I ask city council and the public to think of people like myself and all others that have had terrible life changes that have left them in need and dependent.

I think I speak for many people in my situation. I would never wish severe injuries and such on others but you never know when or if you may be in this situation. I never in a million years thought I would end up like this.

The article “Council debates access policy” has given me the opportunity to vent and advocate for people with disabilties. Just ask yourself what would you do, how would you cope what would you have to sacrifice in this situation.

Terri Bahr,

Thornhill, BC

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