The head of Langley’s Pos-Abilities Society is reaching out to ask Langley Township to do something about the lack of ramps at Brookswood’s primary shopping destination.
Zosia Ettenberg, executive director of Pos-Abilities, is backing a petition on change.org to improve the accessibility of Brookswood Plaza, in the 4100 block of 200th Street.
The main commercial shopping centre in the neighbourhood, it has multiple short stairs around the sidewalks that link the shops in an L shape around the parking lot.
In a video created for Pos-Abilities, Ettenberg points out that there are no ramps linking the multiple levels of the shopping centre. Anyone who relies on a wheelchair or scooter for mobility has to go down into the parking lot and roll behind parked cars, in the driving lanes, to the next ramp back up.
Aside from the inconvenience, the worry is that this creates an extra hazard for disabled patrons. Not only do they have to go out into the travel lanes of the lot, people using wheelchairs are lower to the ground than standing adults. It can be difficult to see the in a rear view mirror – so they may be at risk from cars backing out of the parking spaces, Ettenberg emphasizes in the video.
The video shows graphics of what it might look like to install the gentle ramps Pos-Abilities would like to see – most of the sets of stairs have just one to two steps.
Ettenberg said she was working with SPARC BC on accessibility issues when the shopping plaza came up.
“We just felt it it was about time that we brought it to people’s attention,” said Ettenberg.
Pos-Abilities tried to reach out to the property owner first, but couldn’t find an email address or phone number for the company.
Without any way to ask for changes, Ettenberg said it left going to the Township as the next option.
Pos-Abilities mission is to create a more accessible community for people with disabilities, but Ettenberg emphasized that when things are made accessible, it benefits more than just the disabled.
Parents with strollers and seniors with walkers or canes would also find it easier to get around if ramps were installed where the five sets of steps are currently located, she said.
Once the petition has at least 100 to 150 signatures, Ettenberg plans to take it before Langley Township council and ask if they will take some action to make the plaza more accessible.