Victoria wheelchair users will have access to a park swing in the city for the very first time starting this summer.
The structure is a last-minute addition to the city’s redesign of Stadacona Park, and intended to increase accessibility. The plan already includes barrier-free pathways in and through the playground, ample space between the structures to ensure room for wheelchair users, and rubber surfacing for safety.
A selling point for many people so far has been the promise of in-ground trampolines.
At Thursday’s (March 17) council meeting, Coun. Stephen Andrew asked city staff to consider the addition of a wheelchair accessible swing, or some similar structure.
Councillors agreed the idea was a good one, but several questioned whether Stadacona Park was the right location.
Coun. Geoff Young pointed out parking is only available on the street there and suggested an accessible swing would be better suited to a park with a parking lot, for the sake of wheelchair users.
Mayor Lisa Helps also had concerns.
“If we’re going to have accessibility features like this they shouldn’t be plopped in last minute,” she said. “A good idea is being seized on, but not at the right place and not in the right way.”
Despite the objections, a budget of up to $100,000 for the equipment was suggested by staff, and the accessible wheelchair swing was ultimately approved unanimously.
An amendment by Coun. Ben Isitt was also approved, asking city staff to work with partner agencies to ensure people currently sheltering in the park are offered indoor housing before construction work begins on the park redesign. Staff said there are usually five to nine sheltering structures in Stadacona Park.
Construction on the park redesign is expected to begin by the summer.
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