This past week, you may have noticed some construction underway behind the CVCDA on 3rd Street, downtown Courtenay. The team here were all very excited to see the first phase of our Accessibility Project coming to fruition. When all phases are complete, the Accessibility Project will see improvements made to the accessibility of our main parking lot and accessible entry ways.
For clients and families parking and accessing our buildings for essential services, there may be some ongoing varying instructions from your service providers in advance of any scheduled appointments. During this time, we will also make an exception for families to use the main front entry to avoid the construction zone surrounding the rear upper ramp access. We will continue to add updates and more details about the project here as we progress through the phases.
We are continually striving to provide physical locations for our services that are not only welcoming but inclusive to all who utilize them. Both the upper and lower ramps were deteriorating with age and were considered dangerously steep for those using them in wheelchairs. Not only were they unsafe but the ramps in some instances would damage the wheelchairs.
So far, phase one of construction has seen our lower accessible ramp excavated to make room for the new and improved upgrade. The new ramps will be at amuch more friendly slope for all you use them. Additionally, they will be wider and provide more space at the entry ways for maneuvering in and out.
Our Accessibility Project Fund has come together through a number of supporters including fundraising done through our very own 45th CVCDA Children’s Telethon,
Many local businesses and local Rotary clubs have also combined forces to support this project. Angela Zumbo of the Comox Valley Rotary Club is spearheading the Rotary’s collaboration in their support with both funds and people power.
“I’m so happy our Comox Valley, Comox and Courtenay clubs are joining forces to improve accessibility at CVCDA. We were inspired to take on this Rotary project because it aligns perfectly with our goals to help vulnerable kids and families, and it also gives us the opportunity to really roll up our sleeves to make a difference for the Valley. The current wheelchair ramp is pretty treacherous – it’s a serious challenge for folks today. I’m excited for the new design to get built to see the positive impact in our community and support the CVCDA.” ~Angela Zumbo, Past President of the Comox Valley Rotary Club
Additionally, funding has come through a a varity of grants. The first grant came from the Rick Hanson Foundation BC Accessibility Grants program supported by the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation. The program provides opportunity for organizations that have been rated through the Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility CertificationTM program to apply for funding of up to $20,000 to complete an accessibility infrastructure improvement project. The remainder of the grant funding was a $24,500 grant received through Community Living BC.
“We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Rick Hansen Foundation and the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation.” ~Cindy Xavier, CVCDA Executive Director
Lacasse Construction lead by Owner, Cale Lacasse are once again supporting the CVCDA through all phases of construction on this project as they have done on many past building projects at the CVCDA. Lacasse has also brought with them a team of supporting contractors to the job including Edgett Excavating, Valley Creative Concrete, Dalron Home Improvements and Cumberland Ready Mix.
Finally, we were lucky enough to once again be able to hire professional Architect, Phillipa Atwood to create the exterior building and ramp designs (shown above) to compliment her existing Comox Valley Autism Centre design, located adjacent the courtyard.
Following phase 1, to be completed in April, 2021, we look forward to the remaining phases of the project including the upper ramp and parking lot being completed by end of summer.
We can’t wait to see this design come to life. Follow along on our Phase 1 progress in the galleries below.
Week 1 (breaking ground)
Week 2 – 3 (including Rotary Clubs’s collaborative work party)
Week 4 (shaping up to be a ramp)
Week 5 (we’ve got a ramp!)
Check back for more photos until phase 1 completed.