Access concern remains
Bus service not available for disabled individuals

Tara Kearsey
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Aug 25/00) - Aggie Brockman wants the city to ensure all Yellowknife citizens have access to transit service.

Brockman is the executive director of the NWT Council for Disabled Persons. She attended the city's Accessible Transit Forum last week to express her concern about the lack of access to public transportation for those with different types of disabilities.

"People in wheelchairs have no access at all to the bus, or if you have a really serious mobility impairment you would have trouble with the stairs," said Brockman.

Several suggestions on how to correct the problem were provided to city officials and representatives of Cardinal Coach Lines during the meeting.

Some of the solutions discussed included the creation of a transit service especially for paraplegics. Another option is that if the city can't do that they pay taxi fares for individuals who cannot access the buses.

"It's a public service that's supposed to be available for everyone (but it) isn't available to everyone," said Brockman.

She believes the city is willing to seek options to the problem of inaccessibility, but said a call for proposals should be issued to determine exactly how many different solutions exist.

"We would need to have some specific proposals so people who have disabilities can examine those options and then come up with a position."

Greg Kehoe, the city's manager of public works and engineering, said the recommendations provided at the public forum will come before council for discussion.

"As I understand it, there is no guarantee as to what they'll do ... but I'm certainly hoping that the rights of people with disabilities will be considered in the budget discussions and the committee and council discussions," said Brockman.