Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Public washroom flushes out criticism

by Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star Vernon posted Oct 11, 2016 at 6:00 AM
A Vernon resident believes changes to a public washroom still leave it inaccessible. Dean Roosevelt had pushed the city to make it easier for people in wheelchairs to open the doors at the public washroom on 31st Avenue. However, he says a recent extension of the asphalt sidewalk only makes the situation more challenging. “The placement of a wheelchair in the paved space allotted puts it in perpendicular position to the entrance of the men’s washroom facility. That placement would require a diagonal action on the door in order to open it from a sitting position,” said Roosevelt, who is not disabled. “The height of the average wheelchair in relation to the door handle does not provide sufficient leverage for the handicapped person to open the door.” Roosevelt says person would have to hold the door open with their right hand, while rotating in their chair 90 degrees with only the use of their left arm on the left wheel to enter the unit. “Most people in wheelchairs don’t have the upper body strength, or arm length, to accomplish either opening the door, or entering through the door.” Roosevelt’s preference would be the installation of an automatic door opener, similar. However, City of Vernon officials defends the installation of the extended asphalt pavement at the public washroom. “We made changes to the facility to bring it up to the building code,” said James Rice, public works manager. “The site does meet the building code.” In terms of an automatic door opener, Rice says that would still be possible. “We will assess and monitor (the effectiveness of the asphalt) and determine if there is a need for it,” said Rice.

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