Posted by: Editor | May 4, 2010

Success in Access

Success in Access

EsquimaltReview.com contributor Tony Hawkins shares a personal experience on being disabled in Esquimalt.  

Thank you for Access, by Tony Hawkins.

I have always thought Esquimalt to be a fine example of the cooperation that can be attained between residents and their local government. My confidence in Esquimalt was accentuated the other day in the form of a yellow concrete parking block.

Being disabled and bound to a wheelchair or scooter, I frequently access Kinsmen Park at the bottom of Sioux Street via a small parking lot where one particular stall, if occupied,  prevents wheelchair access to a wooden bridge and thus into the park.

Frustrated at having had to return home on a few hot summer days, I still never got around to writing in about it on the assumption that it was probably far too picayune a complaint to get any response.

Two months ago, however, a small gang of municipal employees were sweeping up the lot and I thought I would explain the problem to the man in charge. He listened to my input and even took notes and sketched a diagram and went on to discuss a solution with his small crew of workers.

Last week, to my delight, I saw that a new concrete slab had been placed to allow just enough space for unfettered wheelchair passage. And, it was done in a way that did not eliminate any of the existing parking spots.

This might seem like a rather silly example of pride in one’s local community.  I don’t think it is. It would have all been too easy to write off and ignore the bitching of an old vet and forget the matter, but no. The city engineer or whoever controls such affairs followed up and acted on the report of his crew and a tiny problem was resolved at virtually no cost.

In this age, it has sadly become fashionable to sneer at government “inaction” and to ignore other people’s problems. But, in my corner of the world, this experience has been a shining example of civil service dedication to their calling ‘to serve’. I commend them.

That is why, at Christmas, I forgetfully leave a full bottle of my best whisky on my garbage can and thank my elected Council and its employees for their dedication to the community.

I have travelled and lived all over the world and as far as Esquimalt is concerned, it suits me fine.

Tony Hawkins is an Esquimalt resident living with a disability in the Craigflower area. Email Tony at tonytig@shaw.ca

Editor’s Note: Did you know Esquimalt has an Access Awareness Advisory Committee to assist the Township of Esquimalt in making Esquimalt more accessible to all its citizens? Check it out by clicking here. Contact Municipal Hall if there is an issue that you would like addressed to make our community more accessible for all.

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Responses

  1. Hello Tony,
    Thank you for taking time to say Thank you and also telling the people of Esquimalt about the importance of thinking and acting on Access-to our parks, sidewalks, and hopefully to our housing.
    On Access Awareness Day June 5, our committee (Access Awareness Advisory) is hosting a day for Esquimalt residents to learn through exhibits, to experience by listening to stories, and to see by watching events performed by people in wheelchairs. During the event their will be a Survey available to determine if our town does have Accessible Housing!
    Eleanor


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