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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Accessible benches unveiled at Co-An Park

by Adam Gault

McGregor’s Co-An Park is now even more accessible, after five new accessible picnic benches were installed through a partnership of both Essex’s and Amherstburg’s municipal accessibility committees.

  Each of these tables feature a higher than standard table height, in addition to recessed support beams, which allow users of wheelchairs and other mobility devices the opportunity to more comfortably position themselves at each end of the table.

  “Put yourself in a wheelchair for awhile, try to go to a picnic table, and when you find out you get your knees knocked, and you have no room, then you understand why that is necessary,” Chairperson of the Amherstburg Accessibility Committee, Bill Whittall, said of the importance of the new benches. “If you look at the population that we are now having, more and more accessibility will be necessary.”

  The total cost of the tables was $5,000, with the funds of the project shared through a joint effort of Essex’s and Amherstburg’s accessibility committees.

  While this year has been quieter than usual for public events at Co-An Park, the tables will be enjoyed by many when fundraisers, fairs, and musical events return to the park in the future, according to Co-An Park Board Chairperson, Tina McAgy.

  “It’s not just for wheelchair accessibility, but for older people to put a lawn chair [at the table],” McAgy said. “We want to make people with walkers as comfortable as possible.”

  Chairperson of the Essex Accessibility Committee, Richard Kokovai, explained that although he believes changes towards a more accessible society has been a slow process, it is the small steps like these that instill confidence towards the goal of a completely accessible world.

  “It’s never fast enough, but we’re heading in the right direction,” Kokovai said. “We’re not spending this money simply to make facilities accessible for a small group of people. When we make our facilities accessible to them, we make them more accessible to everyone.”


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