I am writing about an incident that happened on May 28.
Our son is a paraplegic, as well as a double amputee. He loves the sport of fishing and gets his licence each year, which costs him $26, as well as a Winn card that he must get every five years.
He used to take the Action Bus and go to Bower Ponds where he would fish and would have a couple of hours enjoyment once a month or so. Well, they have stopped stocking Bower Ponds with trout, so he doesn’t go fishing there anymore.
My husband goes out to Dixon Ponds about once a week and we have taken our son there before. He really enjoyed it and there were about three stalls where handicapped people could fish from as they can’t get to the water any other way in a wheelchair.
After organizing a fishing trip for a friend and him, through the help of Bethany Care Facility (where he now resides) and the Canadian Paraplegic Association, they were able to book an Action Bus to take them out to Dixon Ponds for about three hours.
A lot of preparation went into this outing and they also had to pay for an aide to go along with them. My husband went ahead in our car to meet our son and the others there.
When my husband got to the pond, there was a construction crew there. They had bulldozed two of these fishing stalls, leaving only dirt that led to a slope down to the water.
My husband was able to talk to a person before he went ahead and removed the last stall. He explained to him about our son being on his way with his friend, an aide and the Action Bus driver.
The person that was going to bulldoze the area said he would get a hold of his supervisor, which he did and was told to stop construction. My husband was told that these stalls needed to be taken out of there because they were unsafe.
My son, his friend and the other two people arrived, and thanks to my husband, and with the help of the construction crew, they were able to enjoy a good outing for the time allotted.
My point is, I understand that these areas have to be taken out if they are unsafe, but is it not possible to remake another accessible area for all handicapped people? A lot of these people enjoy fishing too.
I am not looking for sympathy, but I hope that something can be constructed to give them a place where they can enjoy themselves.
The Canadian Paraplegic Association has told our son that these trips could be organized and paid for again through the summer. It is quite an expense for them, but they would do it. But without this facility being wheelchair accessible, it would be impossible for him or others to go back there.
I would like to thank the construction crew for being so helpful. We all appreciated it and my son and friend ended up having a great day.
Thank you also to the Canadian Paraplegic Association and Patty at the Bethany Care Centre for being so helpful in organizing this event. Also, thanks to the Action Bus driver for being so understanding.