A few Charlottetown businesses will soon be more accessible thanks to a new program that bridges a gap that kept some customers out in the past.
Spinal Cord Injury P.E.I. is providing the brightly coloured ramps so businesses can become more accessible. The StopGap Community Ramp Project originated in Ontario, but the P.E.I. group brought the idea here.
“They’re just very simply made, they’re very lightweight, they have ropes so you can pick them up,” said Megan MacKenzie, a representative with Spinal Cord Injury P.E.I.
Materials are donated and volunteers build the ramps.
“We like to help out in our community. I think it’s a really great idea, I’m really excited to see them downtown and to know that they’re helping other people,” said Brook Bell, Home Depot employee.
Businesses get them for free and six will receive a ramp on Friday.
Tony Dolan says it means more choices for him.
“It just means access to more places. It just means people have access to a place that they previously had no possibility of getting into,” said Dolan.
One step can be a big obstacle
The ramps are designed for places that are close to ground level, but not quite accessible. Often it’s one small step that creates a big obstacle.
“And one step is the same as having a whole set of stairs,” said Dolan. “It just means someone cannot get in there. And especially if it’s a big heavy, power chair, there’s no way someone can help them over the step.”
Debbie MacKenzie, owner of Robin and Rubies Emporium can’t wait to use her ramp.
“I think it will just make things so much easier for everybody. So much easier for the people who come into the store, for us, for everyone.”
The ramps will be kept inside the stores with signs in the windows letting people know they’re available on request.
“What we’re hoping is that business owners will put their cell phone number or their business number, so if someone is there and needs to use the ramp they can call,” said MacKenzie.
Project organizers hope it’s just the beginning. They believe more businesses will want ramps once they see how they work.