The Ranger Station Gallery on Rockwell Drive. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)

Upgrades on the way for Harrison’s Ranger Station Gallery

The gallery will be seeing accessibility upgrades before a show by artists living with disabilities

The Ranger Station Art Gallery will be getting some much needed accessibility upgrades, thanks to $20,000 from the Village of Harrison.

In October, the gallery was assessed on its accessibility to people with disabilities and found lacking. According to a staff report, it required door widening, designated parking stalls, an accessibility ramp and an accessible washroom in order to be made usable for people with mobility issues.

The upgrades needed to be done quickly, community services coordinator Rhonda Schell said, because the art gallery would be hosting a show curated by Kickstart Disability Arts and Culture this fall. The show is intended to promote artists who are living with a disability.

“The community will really be on display to that community,” Schell said.

RELATED: Canada’s first national accessibility law tabled in Ottawa

According to Ed Stenson, president of the Kent Harrison Arts Council, there had been discussions about accessibility issues at the gallery when Kickstart approached the arts council.

“We certainly talked about accessibility issues at the gallery,” he said. “Hopefully there would be some changes made prior to (the show). If not, we would have to sit down with the Kickstart people and figure out how best to make that all work.”

There had been concerns about the accessibility of the gallery for some time, Stenson said. The three steps leading up to the front door had been a challenge for people in a wheelchair, as were the steps down to the washroom inside.

“We have had situations over the years where somebody in a wheelchair cannot access the gallery without a great deal of muss and fuss,” he said. “We have had people who have come and basically have been turned away.”

RELATED: Kent Harrison Arts Council celebrates 45 years of fostering the arts

They had been looking at the accessibility issue with the main door “for a number of years,” Stenson said, and the accessibility audit as well as the upcoming show pushed it to the forefront of the village’s mind.

During council Monday (Jan. 21), councillors Ray Hooper and Gerry Palmer said they had concerns that the village was the only one responsible for funding these upgrades.

“I just don’t want to see the whole cost of this fall onto the residents of the village,” Hooper said. “Yes we have to consider accessibility, I’ve worked for the disabled all through my working life. But it seems everything is fallen upon us residents.”

CAO Madeline McDonald said it was possible the village could apply for grants to pay for the changes, if grants became available within the budget year.

Councillors Samantha Piper and Michie Vidal indicated they were both in favour of the upgrades, as did mayor Leo Facio.

“It’s worth the money to spend on this,” Facio said. “Communities are having to advocate or do more in their communities for disabled people, and I am 100 per cent behind that.

“We’ll be having discussions, I’m sure, as we move along for other areas in our community.”

The council unanimously passed the motion to spend up to $20,000 to upgrade the gallery.



grace.kennedy@ahobserver.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Newly elected Hope politicians took part in the Local Government Leadership Academy

The three-day event is aimed at helping new mayors and councillors navigate municipal politics

No records were beat, but Hope’s February temperatures aren’t average

Normally around 3C, the sub-zero temperatures made for both good and bad in the Fraser Valley

New Chilliwack YMCA was ‘worth the wait’ say visitors

Family Day will mark officially opening for new building, after sneak peek tours on Saturday

Opioid overdoses killing three people a month in Chilliwack

35 deaths in 2018 locally compare to 23 in 2017, 13 in 2016 up from about five per year before that

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

B.C. athlete takes home gold in freestyle aerials at Canada Games

Brayden Kuroda won the event with a combined score of 121.65.

Pedestrian in serious condition after hit by car downtown Abbotsford

A youth was also hit, suffered minor injuries, police say

Cabinet likely to extend deadline to reconsider Trans Mountain pipeline

The can’t decide the pipeline’s fate until a new round of consultations with Indigenous communities

B.C. government provides $75,000 towards salmon study

Study looks at abundance and health of Pacific salmon in Gulf of Alaska

Murdered and missing honoured at Stolen Sisters Memorial March in B.C.

‘We come together to make change within the systems in our society’

UBC researchers develop inexpensive tool to test drinking water

The tricoder can test for biological contamination in real-time

Disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner released from prison

He was convicted of having illicit online contact with a 15-year-old North Carolina girl in 2017

Most Read