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

Gerry Thiessen, mayor of Vanderhoof shown talking to students on May 17. Thiessen and other members of council officially announced that the rainbow crosswalk will be a reality. They were ready to paint a few lines of of paint onto the crosswalk, but weather wasn’t suitable for it. District staff will be jumping onto the project as soon as the weather allows it. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
School District 91 holds first ‘Share the Love Day’

International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia recognized

Pictured above is a BCEHS re-enactment of paramedics attending an overdose. Toxic illicit drugs have claimed the lives of 498 British Columbians in the first three months of 2021, said the BC Coroners Service. (BCEHS photo)
Increase in overdose cases a concern: Fort St. James RCMP

Police issue public health announcement

A prowling coyote proved no match for a stray black cat who chased it out of a Port Moody parking lot Friday, May 14. (Twitter/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Little but fierce: Cat spotted chasing off coyote by Port Moody police

The black cat is seen jumping out from under a parked car and running the wild animal out of a vacant lot

A forest of dance-protesters outside the BC Legislature on April 11. These participants were doing the Dance for the Ancient Forest in support of the Fairy Creek blockade and against old-growth logging. (Zoë Ducklow/News Staff)
Arrests begin at Fairy Creek blockade on Vancouver Island

Five protesters arrested as RCMP begin to enforce injunction

A thunderstorm pictured in Fraser Valley in 2021. (Black Press Media/Jaimie Grafstrom)
Wildfire concerns sparked after 320+ lightning strikes blasted B.C. yesterday

Approximately one-quarter of the province is currently listed as being at moderate risk of fire

A restaurant server on White Rock’s Marine Drive serves customers on a roadside patio. Indoor dining and recreational travel bans have been in effect since late March in B.C. (Peace Arch News)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate falls to 411 cases Tuesday

360 people in hospital, up slightly, two more deaths

The Banff National Park entrance is shown in Banff, Alta., Tuesday, March 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Minister asks Canadians to camp carefully in national parks as season starts

Kitchen shelters in Banff National Park closed, trails on Vancouver Island will only be one-way

Names of those aboard the ship are seen at Komagata Maru monument in downtown Vancouver, on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. The City of Vancouver has issued an apology for its racist role in denying entry to 376 passengers aboard a ship that was forced to return to India over a century ago. Mayor Kennedy Stewart says discrimination by the city had “cruel effects” on the Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims aboard the Komagata Maru, which arrived in Burrard Inlet on May 23, 1914. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver mayor says sorry for city’s role in turning away South Asians in 1914

Kennedy Stewart has declared May 23 as the annual Komagata Maru Day of Remembrance

A crew of WestCoast WILD Adventures employees tackled an onslaught of litter left at the ‘Locks of Love’ fence at Wally Creek on May 2. (Anne-Marie Gosselin photo)
Litter woes consume popular ‘Locks of Love’ fence on B.C.’s Pacific Rim

Popular view spot near Tofino plagued by people hanging masks and other unwanted garbage

Vincent Doumeizel, senior advisor at the United Nations Global Compact on Oceans, as well as director for the Food Programme for the Lloyd’s Register Foundation, pulls up some sugar kelp seaweed off the French coast in April 2020. He was the keynote speaker during the opening ceremony of the inaugural Seaweed Days Festival. (Vincent Doumeizel/Submitted)
Let’s hear it for seaweed: slimy, unsexy and the world’s greatest untapped food source

Experts talks emerging industry’s challenges and potential at Sidney inaugural Seawood Days Festival

Troy Patterson, a Cadboro Bay 15-year-old, got a virtual meeting with B.C.’s environment minister months after he started an online petition calling for construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline to stop. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
B.C. teen’s 23,000-name Coastal GasLink petition gets him an audience with the minister

15-year-old Saanich high school student and George Heyman discussed project for about 30 minutes

Most Read