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September 15, 2010

Halifax Inaccessible? Nah!

READER’S CORNER 
Not open for business?


My wife Emily and I, both of whom are disabled (my wife has spina bifida and has been in a wheelchair for the past decade, and I have had both of my legs amputated as a result of flesh-eating disease), have been planning a vacation to Nova Scotia for the past year.
Since February, we have been working diligently, along with our friends who are with us, to find accessible accommodation for two power wheelchairs. What we have discovered is that there is nearly nothing that is accessible in Halifax.
Since we have been in the metro area, people have been extremely friendly, including hotel and tourism staff in trying to be very accommodating. However, we think the people of Halifax need to understand more clearly what accessibility really means (for example, there was only one restaurant that was completely accessible close to the world-famous site of Peggy’s Cove). The principles of "universal design" need to be applied to the design of any building to make it usable for everyone, including people with disabilities.
Halifax is known as a famous tourist destination, with many beautiful sights to see. It would be a tragic loss if more people with disabilities were not able to enjoy this part of the country because of lack of accessibility.

Nick Ternette, Winnipeg, Man.

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