Voting challenges

Resident expresses concerns about accessibility at Vernon city hall

I’m a bit of pro when it comes to sizing up buildings for accessibility and parking.  Often a drive-by will tell me if it’s worth stopping for an ice cream or shuffling on in to buy that winning lottery ticket on the way home. With 40 years of having a family member who has a physical disability, our collective mind always goes to, “Can we get dad in there?”

Flash to recently and my ever-civic-minded dad wants to vote in the arena referendum. Voting options present the perfect pairing: advanced poll and city hall. Beat the rush, good parking and sure-to-be accessible.

No crowds at city hall last. Wide parking stall right up front, good signage, user-friendly entrance, all what I had imagined.  Wheeling my dad, we approach the ramp, with me making the usual mental notes: “good slope, not hard to push, dad could do this on his own.”

An employee in front of us pushes the door opener for us but it does not work. Obviously embarrassed, she pushes it again and then offers to hold the door open.

She rushes to tell the greeter inside that the automatic door is not working.  Me, never short of words, suggest they should get it fixed before the actual voting day.

The next bump on the ice: there’s moulding on the council chamber floor where it meets the carpet, just high enough to stop the chair from gliding to the waiting ballot clerks.

Well, what’s a few moves on our way to drop that ballot into the slot. Not the biggest obstacle we’ve ever faced but worth making a bit of noise about.

The parting words of the smiling helper stationed at the door as we exit about sums up our experience, “Look the auto door-opener works from the inside!”

Lori Winstanley


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