On Wednesday, June 22, the CVCDA hosted a gathering to mark the official opening of both our upper and lower accessible ramps. The celebration marked the completion of both phase one and phase two of the CVCDA’s Accessibility Project.
The grand opening event was a wonderful opportunity for us to bring everyone invloved together. After a couple of years, we celebrated the completion of these phases and got to enjoy together, the contribution these ramps are providing to our organization, the families we serve and the broader community. For some, who had only followed along with the progress online, it was an opportunity to see them in person for the first time.
Joining us at the event was a number of invited CVCDA community members, our CVCDA team and Board members. Also, there were a number of our supporters from through out the project.
The official part of the ceremony was led by our Executive Director, Cindy Xavier and Board President, Diane Daigle. They were joined first with some remarks from Courtenay Mayor, Bob Wells, before acknowledging the contributions of many of our supporters. We heard from a number of service clubs and businesses who were also presented with a small plaque (matching our own), that they could take back to display in their businesses or clubs.
The ribbon cutting ceremony was a highlight of the event with a number of particpants spread between two separate ribbons, at the end of both ramps. Two special guests took part in the ribbon cutting, Cory and Elijah, who are a part of the CVCDA’s adult program, Project Inclusion. Both had been at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the original accessible ramp built at the CVCDA, while they had been receiving early years services at the time. They even brought the original ceremonial ribbon cutting scissors to mark the occassion. Mayor Bob Wells also brought a pair to assist.
The ceremony finished off with some closing remarks from our Board Treasurer, Jean-Marc Jaquier and an invitation to stay and explore the ramp from the perspective of one of the available wheelchairs. The Comox Valley Wheelchair Sports Society had joined us and once again brought along some wheelchairs to demonstrate the improvements. Similar to before the CVCDA Accessibility Project got under way, the society had brought wheelchairs to demonstrate the potential hazards of our previous ramp. See the before video here.
Back in February 2022, our upper ramp, phase 2 of the CVCDA’s Accessibility Project was fully completed and open for visitors to utlize when accessing the upper level of the main CVCDA buidling on the corner of Cliffe and 3rd Street.
The entire CVCDA team here have been very thrilled to see both the first phase (lower ramp) and the second phase (upper ramp) of our Accessibility Project complete. These new accessible ramps offer many improvements for our staff and clientele including a more friendly grade, a wider clearence and more space at the entrances for maneuvering in and out.
We are continually striving to provide physical locations for our services that are not only welcoming but inclusive to all who utilize them. Prior to demolition, the upper and lower ramps had deteriorated with age and were considered dangerously steep for those using them in wheelchairs and other mobility equipment. Not only were they unsafe but the ramps in some instances had damaged wheelchairs.
The final phase, still to come, of the CVCDA’s Accessibility Project will see improvements made to the accessibility of our main parking lot.
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. Rotary Club of Comox Valley, Rotary Club of Comox and Rotary Club of Strathcona Sunrise collaborated to provide support with both funds and people power.
Lacasse Construction led by Owner, Cale Lacasse once again supported the CVCDA through both 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, Nelson Roofing & Sheet Metal and Cumberland Ready Mix.
Additional support came in the form of grants from both Community Living BC and the Rick Hansen Foundation BC Accessibility Grants program supported by the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation.
Finally, we were lucky enough to once again acquire the engineering services of McElhanney and professional Architect, Phillipa Atwood to create the ramp designs to compliment her existing Comox Valley Autism Centre design, located adjacent in the courtyard.
If you would like to make a financial contribution to the completion of the CVCDA’s Accessibility Project, please visit our online donation form or contact our Executive Director, Cindy Xavier (firstname.lastname@example.org).