Efforts continue to make the Sackville a more age-friendly place.
Sackville continues to move forward on initiatives that make the community a more agefriendly place.
The town is the first in New Brunswick to partner with the Stopgap Foundation, recently installing several new ramps to help make local businesses more accessible.
Michael Fox, a member of the mayor’s advisory committee working to develop an agefriendly action plan, said this latest project is a simple measure that offers a real solution in eliminating barriers to some establishments.
Through the Stopgap Community Ramp Project, single-step businesses are provided with a colourful and deployable access ramp. This ensures that people with wheelchairs, strollers or mobility issues can now enter these spaces with greater ease.
The Bridge Street Café and Napul’è Restaurant were the first downtown businesses to jump on board with this community project and Fox said he hopes others will soon join in, as well.
“We’re seeing the community starting to rise to the challenge,” said Fox of this initiative, along with other age-friendly programs that have taken flight in Sackville including the monthly Memory Cafes, the Walk in the Park, and the purchase of a trishaw bike.
Fox said although the ramps do not present a perfect solution to the problem, they do generate curiosity and get people talking about this huge design issue within our community.
“It really starts a conversation,” he said.
Fox said he had heard about the Stop Gap Foundation through his son, who lives in Toronto. To date, the Stopgap Foundation has over 1,200 ramps in more than 40 communities across Canada. The Foundation works collaboratively with policy makers, designers, builders, architects, and community members to inspire a shift in perspective about the importance of universal access and inclusion.
So in partnership with Stopgap Foundation, the mayor’s advisory committee has also been working with various community members to develop the Sackville Community Ramp Project, including
high school shop teacher Blaine Macisaac, who built the colourful ramps. Mount Allison University students who have an interest in accessibility issues, both in the community and on campus, have also helped support the project. Materials were donated through
local fundraising and the committee was also able to access a student experiential learning and action grant though the student life office at Mount A.
The ramps are movable so they can be brought inside in the winter months for snow removal purposes; a sticker in the business’ window lets people know there is a ramp available to them and provides a number to call for access.
Other businesses interested in getting a ramp are welcome to contact The Ramp Project at 364-2440. The portable ramps are free to any business that has a single step at their shop that limits access.
A new ramp was recently installed inside the Napul’è Restaurant in downtown Sackville, allowing for greater access into the establishment. Celebrating the installation last Friday was, left to right, Mount Allison student Desmond Chantiam (who is conducting research on local accessiblity issues), Mayor John Higham, Napul’è owner Carmine Caso and member of the mayor’s advisory committee Harold Popma.
Sackville Mayor John Higham and Pat Estabrooks, a member of the mayor’s advisory committee working to develop an age-friendly action plan in Sackville, are shown with the new ramp that was recently installed in front of the Bridge Street Café.