Another $20,000 has been added to the city’s budget, with the city now set to get to work on a new lift that will make the aquatic centre at the Canada Games Centre more accessible.
Council was unanimous in its decision April 10 to add the $20,000 grant it will receive from the Rick Hanson Foundation for the lift.
A number of groups had approached the city about applying for the grant to install a ceiling track lift.
While the city has seated lifts at the lap pool and hot tub along with a ramp in the leisure pool to provide accessibility, using those are more labour-intensive and involve more lifting.
This will allow those who have accessibility issues to move directly from the accessible change room to the pool without having to move from the change room back into a wheelchair, then be moved from there into the seated lift, it was noted in a report to council.
“The uplift Whitehorse project will install a permanent lift within the accessible pool change area,” it’s noted.
“This lift will enable persons with disabilities to access the pool with minimal support. A budget amendment is required to accept the grant and add the project to the 2017 capital budget.”
It’s expected the new lift will be installed by the end of the year and that a minimum of 10 citizens will access it each week once it’s operating, said Krista Mroz, the city’s manager of recreation and facility services.
Steve Beaulieu, who (with his wife, Michelle) has two sons with Duchene Muscular Dystrophy, said the family is pleased the city has received funding and is moving ahead to have the lift installed. It will make it easier for the family to go for a swim, he said.
Right now, it’s difficult to get their two sons changed, back into their motorized wheel chairs and then lift them into the seated lift to then get into the pool.
The family has been advocating for the city to get a ceiling-track lift for a number of years, having used them in other locations down south. Until now, the city had explained there just wasn’t money in the budget.
Beaulieu expects the family may go to the pool up to three times a week once the lift is installed rather than the approximately once a month they get there now.
Councillors Dan Boyd and Rob Fendrick attended the meeting by conference call.