Wheelchair ramp at Brackley Beach,PEI is too high and too hard for people in wheelchairs
By Stephen Pate – Parks Canada spent $500,000 on a wheelchair ramp at the PEI National Park that is totally not usable by people in wheelchairs.
Accessible means that the device is usable. We declare this wheelchair ramp unusable except for wheelchair athletes.
After a story on CBC Compass PEI beach is now wheelchair accessible, we went to Brackley Beach to try it out.
The ramp is simply not designed with wheelchair users in mind. In a wheelchair, you will have to push yourself up a steep and difficult 18 foot climb before descending to the beach.
Parks Canada could have made the beach accessible at less than 25% of the cost by simply putting the ramp through the break in the dunes.
Once at the bottom of the long ramp, there are no beach wheelchairs and no platform to leave your wheelchair. You have make reservations to get the a beach wheelchair delivered. Parks Canada should store the beach wheelchairs on the beach where there are needed.
When your time on the beach is over, you must push yourself 18 feet into the air along 250 feet of wooden ramps. Most people with disabilities will find that an impossible and punishing task.
Parks Canada used government architects in designing the structure, according to Parks Canada officer Charlene Caisse. They did not get any advice from people who use wheelchairs, otherwise they would have built something entirely different and easier for them to use.
In building the ramp, the engineers or architects no doubt relied on the National Building code that says ramps must have a slope not exceeding 12 inches of ramp for every 1 inch rise. The NBC does not allow ramps to be 18 feet high. Elevators are used of that height. It is the equivalent of asking a person in a wheelchair to climb over a 2 story building.
For long ramps the rise should be more gentle something better than 24 inches of ramp for every 1 inch of rise. The beach at Stanhope has the proper ramping for the part on the ground.
In a telephone interview, Parks Canada did say they would adjust the ramp to make it accessible. We trust they will do that with some expert help this time and try not to waste taxpayers money.