Students from Bracebridge Muskoka Lakes Secondary School Grade 11 Construction Technology class along with Mayor Graydon Smith and Councillor Archie Buie (Chair of Bracebridge Accessibility Advisory Committee ) and Shane Doyle (BMLSS Instructor)
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Muskoka Post Staff
Twenty downtown Bracebridge businesses are now wheelchair accessible.
On Jan. 28 the Bracebridge Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC), Bracebridge and Muskoka Lakes Secondary School, Bracebridge BIA together with Mayor Graydon Smith officially launched the new access ramp program being rolled out for several downtown businesses.
“Our Committee is thrilled to have worked in conjunction with the Grade 11 construction technology students from Bracebridge and Muskoka Lakes Secondary School. Thanks to the efforts of AAC committee member Peter Cross, students, RONA and JSW Manufacturing, we now have 20 new access ramps that will help people with mobility issues gain access to businesses they could not access before," said councillor Archie Buie, chair of the Bracebridge AAC.
RONA supplied all of the lumber and the paint for this project while JSW Manufacturing provided the steel transitions for each ramp. Hammond Transportation ferried the students from BMLSS to the downtown to complete the site visit portion of the project.
Shane Doyle, the BMLSS instructor who oversaw the construction of the ramps said, “This project was perfect for the students to sink their teeth into. Every ramp was unique so the students were required to complete a site visit to each location to secure measurements. The slope of Manitoba Street posed some real life challenges. The students feel a great sense of pride being associated with a project that helps remove barriers for many individuals in our community.”
Access ramps can only be used in entrances with a single rise of 6” or less. They do not have to meet Ontario Building Code requirements as the ramps are considered temporary. In a lot of cases merchants are not able to leave the ramps installed all day due to the narrowness of the sidewalks. However, the stores that received a ramp also received a sign for their window saying that the ramp is available upon request.
“This is truly a great news story. Thanks to the technical abilities of the Grade 11 Construction Technology students ... these ramps are being provided at no cost to the merchants," said mayor Smith.
Lindsay Alexander, BIA president was also excited about the project.
“Bracebridge is blessed with a picturesque downtown. However, this part of town can be challenging to many of our customers due to the incline on several sections of the street. Anything that improves the accessibility of some of our shops for local residents and visitors is definitely a win," she said.
In addition to the ramps, another six stores had concrete bumps ground away to facilitate easier entrance for wheelchairs specifically.
The AAC is a volunteer citizen’s advisory committee providing advice to Bracebridge town council on the identification, removal and prevention of barriers in the town’s by - laws, policies, programs and services. For information on accessibility initiatives, visit the town’s accessibility page at www.bracebridge.ca