Apr 11, 2017
by Ray Martin
Proponents of Stop Gap ramps in Cambridge got together with architecture students from the University of Waterloo at the Bridge in downtown Galt to raise awareness for the cause on Saturday, April 8.
Architecture students hosted an art exhibition to show off different designs they had come up with for the ramps, which help people with strollers, walkers and mobility issues gain access to local businesses.
“These ramps are going to open so many doors for us,” said Sherri Roberts, chair of Cambridge’s Accessibility Advisory Committee.
To date, just one ramp has been installed and four others are ordered for area businesses, but Roberts’ group hopes to ramp up the orders and their production in the coming weeks.
Arrangements are being made to have volunteers from the city’s two 50+ centres’ woodworking clubs to build the ramps. Meanwhile, Roberts’ team will be approaching stores in Preston about installing the mobile ramps in front of their shops.
“Putting in a ramp opens up a big world for people,” said Don Patten from Stop Gap Kitchener.
In speaking to the architecture students, Patten said even a two-inch step could bar admittance to people with mobility challenges wanting to enter a store or restaurant. He urged them to start thinking about accessibility issues when designing their projects.
“Its easier to design these things in from the beginning than trying to add them in later,” he suggested.
Both Roberts and Patten said one of the challenges the Stop Gap effort faces is with local bylaws. Although the ramps are temporary structures, some municipal bylaw officials are concerned they pose a potential trip hazards for pedestrians.
That may be, but municipalities are going to have to sort this out as municipalities and businesses are being challenged to improve accessibility in areas that impact the daily lives of people with disabilities under the Ontario Accessibility Act by 2025.
To learn more about Stop Gap go to: www.stopgap.ca.