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An Accessible and Inclusive Pier   

By Susan Bains

As a 15 year resident of White Rock, I encountered accessibility barriers along the promenade after becoming a wheelchair user. Despite years of personal advocacy efforts and correspondence with city officials, little progress was made on making the pier accessible.

Frustrated by the lack of action, I expanded my efforts. I rallied support from National and Provincial Disability Organizations, local groups, and legislators.

After presenting my case which explained barriers to accessing the pier, legislative obligations of the City, support received, viable solutions and grant options to the mayor and council in January 2024, the response was disappointing. The Mayor requested funding from supporting organizations rather than utilizing dedicated reserves and taking immediate action.

Over six months council delayed, citing funding constraints and public opinion. I continued to counter each excuse and mobilize public support through media coverage. A petition gathered close to 1500 signatures in just three weeks.

There was a rally on the pier during National AccessAbility Week which highlighted accessibility challenges and provided users with firsthand experience in spare wheelchairs. These efforts forced council to reverse their decision. In June 2024, council committed to making the pier accessible this year instead of waiting until 2025.

Throughout this journey, I learned that while legislation supports accessibility, implementation often lags, requiring persistent advocacy and collective support for change. My experience underscores the importance of community involvement in shaping inclusive public spaces. I am dedicated to furthering accessibility initiatives, ensuring all individuals can participate fully in their communities.

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