By Tim Miller, The Intelligencer
Friday, January 12, 2018
The second floor of the Stirling-Rawdon and District Recreation Centre, which is rented out for a variety of community activities, currently has no accessibility options for people with mobility issues.
STIRLING-RAWDON – Christmas came a little early for the Stirling and District Lions Club.
The club had been raising money for a new accessibility lift which would allow members and visitors with mobility issues access to the club’s hall on the second floor of the Stirling-Rawdon and District Recreation Centre.
The hall is regularly rented out for a variety of events like weddings, anniversaries and vendor sales. As it stands now, residents unable to navigate the flight of stairs leading to the second floor have simply had to accept being excluded from these community events.
With a $75,000 grant from the John M. & Bernice Parrott Foundation Inc., that’s shaping up to change.
“We had asked for that amount and got the full amount, which was really a great surprise,” said Lin Clarke, the Stirling and District Lions Club accessibility and renovation chairwoman.
The news came in just four days before Christmas day.
“We got a wonderful Christmas present,” said Clarke.
The money will cover the majority of the estimated $98,000 cost of the lift and installation. The rest will consist of other donations and the club’s own fundraising efforts.
“Now that we have the go-ahead from the Stirling Arena and the Stirling council, we’ve got everything in place now, it’s just a matter of setting up a schedule and date,” said Clarke.
“This is going to be a wonderful transition from availability to accessibility.”
Clarke said she hopes to have everything ready to go by late spring.
After the initial installation, the ongoing maintenance is expected to run between $500 to $1,800 a year.
“We have had word that the arena board, which consists of Belleville, Quinte West, Centre Hastings and Stirling, would take care of the maintenance costs of the lift,” said Clarke, though cautioning much of this is still in the discussion phase.
With the accessibility lift project running at full steam, Clarke is already eyeing the next project down the line.
“There’s no sense in having the lift if we don’t have an accessible washroom, so that’s the next project on the agenda.”
Anyone interested in making a donation can do so to the Stirling & District Lions Club, 435 West Front St, Stirling, Ontario K0K3E0. Tax receipts are available.