The myCommunity BC map provides accessibility info for several Chilliwack destinations.

The myCommunity BC map provides accessibility info for several Chilliwack destinations.

New online tool provides accessibility map for people with disabilities

The myCommunity BC map provides accessibility info for nearly 1,000 locations in the province

An new online tool is making it easier for people with disabilities to find accessible places.

The myCommunity BC map was launched at findsupportbc.com around a year ago with around 400 places tagged across the province, and now, there are nearly 1,000. For example, click on the pin for Chilliwack’s Cottonwood Four Cinemas and you’ll see it checking boxes for ‘accessibility’ and ‘welcoming diversity’ while also earning little green icons for ‘fun and lively spot’ and ‘a spot to meet new people.’

Visitors can click the ‘add a place’ button on the top right to do just that, giving Esther King and others a better sense of what awaits them when they leave the controlled environment of their own home.

King has a 17-year-old daughter, named Joudelie, who needs significant help wherever she goes. She has taken Joudelie to places that have ‘accessible washrooms’ according to the letter of the law, but in reality the bathroom stall isn’t wide enough for a bigger wheelchair, or the grab bars are in the wrong place.

“Someone needs a toilet when they’re out and they can’t get into the bathroom, that’s a pretty big problem,” King said. “When you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go, and what are you going to do? I have to lift Joudelie to help her transfer onto the toilet, and if I’m tired or my back is sore on a particular day and I’m not confident there will be enough space to do that, we just don’t go. She ends up not participating in things in the community that she has every right to participate in.”

RELATED: Action plan aims to make Chilliwack more inclusive, diverse and accessible

RELATED: City of Chilliwack website offers new options for people with disabilities

When submitting a location to the map, there is a spot for users to type their thoughts on what was or wasn’t good about it. King said having reports ‘from the field’ makes her more confident going to a particular venue, and that could be beneficial for businesses who pay attention.

“When I have a really good experience I tell businesses and thank them for it,” King said. “This map can be a big part of sharing that, and what I’d eventually like to see is stickers on the windows of businesses that are truly accessible.”

Phillip Retief is a student at the University of the Fraser Valley and said the tool is great because it allows people with disabilities to gain independence.

“It’s terrible when you get to a place you were excited to go to, but you get there and realize it’s not accessible,” said Retief, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair to get around. “You really want to be a part of something, but you can’t.”

Retief remembers a trip to play mini-golf at Castle Fun Park in Abbotsford.

“When you go onto the pitch, there is a step going down, and I can’t do that with my wheelchair,” he said. “I need someone to pick me up and bring me down. It is sad when friends are down there enjoying mini-golfing and there is no access for me to join them. It feels uncomfortable and unfair, and it’s awkward because everyone knows you’re the one person who can’t do what they’re doing.”

The myCommunity BC map is based on the BC Community Asset mapping network, and icons come from Green Map, an international non-profit actively mapping assets in 65 countries around the world. More help comes from the Family Support Institute and Community Living BC.

Retief said it has the potential to make discussion about accessibility “fun and engaging,” and maybe create real progress.

“Accessibility is a work in the progress. People need feedback to learn and grow and better the services that they make available,” he said. “It opens up communication and awareness and opens up the conversation about inclusiveness.”

“With this map, it will just be nice to be confident knowing that if someone says a place accessible, it truly is.”


@ProgressSports
eric.welsh@theprogress.com

Like us on

Accessibilitychilliwack

 

Phil Retief doesn’t let much get in his way, but a lack of accessibility at some locations can keep him on the sideline when he wants to get involved. (Facebook photo)

Phil Retief doesn’t let much get in his way, but a lack of accessibility at some locations can keep him on the sideline when he wants to get involved. (Facebook photo)

Just Posted

Robert’s column
Robert Barron Column: Poachers in forest reserve should be treated harshly

‘Poachers need to be rounded up and prosecuted as soon as possible’

Can you dig it? Crofton In Bloom volunteers certainly can. From left: Trayci Lepp, Tony Lamley, Bonnie Lamley, Mary Patient and Jane Grueber. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Community pride grows from volunteer group’s beautification efforts

All ages contribute to Crofton In Bloom’s objectives

An object in motion stays in motion. An object at rest stays at rest. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)
Sarah Simpson Column: This mother is grinning and bearing it

News broke the other day that, after months in hibernation, Grouse Mountain’s… Continue reading

An online cooking lesson with Ian Blom, the Red Seal Chef from the Ainslie Restaurant, is one of the items on auction in a fundraiser for the Duncan Curling Club and other causes. (Submitted photo)
Online action being held to assist Duncan Curling Club and other causes

Auction, run by the Duncan Rotary Club, closes May 22

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)
Police apologize after wrongly arresting B.C.’s first Black Supreme Court Justice

At 81 years old, the retired judge was handcuffed in public while out for a walk Friday morning

Queen Elizabeth II and Clive Holland, deputy commonwealth president of the Royal Life Saving Society, top left, virtually present Dr. Steve Beerman, top right, with the King Edward VII Cup for his drowning-prevention work. Tanner Gorille and Sarah Downs were honoured with Russell Medals for their life-saving resuscitation. (Buckingham Palace photo)
Queen presents Vancouver Island doctor with award for global drowning prevention

Dr. Steve Beerman receives Royal Life Saving Society’s King Edward VII Cup at virtual ceremony

Former UFV Cascades wrestling coach Arjan Singh Bhullar is now the ONE heavyweight champion after defeating Brandon Vera via TKO in round two on Saturday in Singapore. (ONE Championship)
Former UFV wrestling coach wins MMA championship

Arjan Singh Bhullar captures ONE heavyweight title, first Indian origin fighter to achieve honour

Astra Zeneca vaccine waits for injection in a Feb. 3, 2021 file photo. A Langley man has become the second B.C. resident to suffer a blood clot following an injection. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
B.C. man required emergency surgery after AstraZeneca vaccination

Shaun Mulldoon suffered ‘massive blood clot’ after jab

Chilliwack’s Kile Brown, performing as drag queen Hailey Adler, dances and lip syncs in front of hundreds of people during the inaugural Chilliwack Pride Barbecue at the Neighbourhood Learning Centre on Aug. 24, 2019. Monday, May 17 is International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of May 16 to 22

International Day Against Homophobia, Talk Like Yoda Day, Sea Monkey Day all coming up this week

Most Read