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LETTER: People with disabilities are White Rock taxpayers, too

Peace Arch News - 5/24/2024

Editor:

I read the story about city council's discussions regarding funding for an accessibility mat for the pier in the May 16thPeace Arch News. I am disappointed in Mayor Knight and Councillor Cheung. From reading the story, it seems the mayor and some councillors see this request to ensure the pier is accessible to all is an "us" and "them" situation.

Having a public amenity that is not accessible to people with disabilities is a form of ableism and discrimination.

The concern appears to be spending taxpayers' dollars (us) to fund the accessibility mat for people with disabilities who are unable to access the pier (them). Perhaps a reminder to Mayor Knight that people with disabilities are also taxpayers.

Further, in 2023 White Rock's population was 21,935. Residents over 65 years old represent the largest age group at 8,185 (37 per cent) of residents. Residents between 55 and 64 years are 3,810 (17.4 per cent). Together they make up 54.7 per cent of residents/taxpayers. This is the group that most likely requires mobility aids like wheelchairs, walkers and canes, as well as younger residents with conditions that require mobility aids.

A White Rock resident with a disability provided city engineering director Jim Gordon with a list of available grants; however, it seems there is no staff time to apply for grants.

City chief administrative officer Guillermo Ferrero stated that a position for a grant writer is still posted. I looked at the city's job opportunities as well as Civic Info. There was no posting by White Rock for a grant writer position. I hope this means that the grant writer position has been filled.

In closing, my husband recently had a stroke and requires a wheelchair to get around. Now, when we want to go for a walk on the pier, I go without him.

Lack of accessibility to the pier affects families, too.

Marie Sabine

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