Since writing for a small newspaper in northern Manitoba (2012-2014) I have continued writing articles moving from place to place. As you know the format in which news is related to the public has changed. It is easily done via your Facebook feed, all in one click. What I write may not coincide with your core beliefs, or point of view; but you can rest assured that it is factual and unbiased. I hope that you take some reference to what I am conveying within these articles.
Monday, February 16, 2015
Buoyancy is a great equalizer.
Ruth Jacklin is the Pool &
Fitness Supervisor for the City of Dryden. She and her dedicated crew will be
able to offer in the near future; full accessto
the big poolfor peoples with disabilities and
seniors with mobility impairmentsto enjoy and fullyparticipate in allrecreational
“We received a water accessible
wheelchair in 2003 as a donation from the Lions Foundation of Manitoba and
Northwestern Ontario,” explained Jacklin, “At the time, we partnered with and
had the support of the Dryden Regional Health Centre’s Occupational Therapy
Jacklin describes thatthe permanent wheel chair accessible ramp has been
givingpeople with disabilities and senior’s
access to the small therapeutic heated pool since it was built in 1983. And
that,right now, they are missing just one step
to make the wholefacility truly accessible.
“Thadeus Weiss contacted me and
asked me about accessibility for people with disabilities and how far we had
come towards achieving that goal. I told him (at the time) that the only step
we are missing is lift forthe main pool that
would allow people with disabilities to be lifted into the water.”
Weiss was born and raised in
Dryden. A spinal cord injury resulting from a diving accident in 1980 changed
the course of his life. As a result; Weiss became a quadriplegic with great
challenges, and strives to further the advances of public accessibility for
people with disabilities and seniors in Ontario.
Ruth Jacklin pushing staff in chair.
“There is a big focus on
accessibility,” said Jacklin, “We (the City of Dryden) have to provide access
to a very diverse population and that includes people who have mobility issues.
It’s something that we have always been able to do quite successfully. A lift
for the main pool would bridge the existing small gap and greatly improve accessibility
to the big pool."
According to the City of Dryden’s
multi-year Accessibility Plan, Jacklin believes that obtaining a chair pool
lift will become a reality within two years, “It shouldn't take much longer
than that, as it was identified and listed in our Multi-Year Accessibility
Plan”.Weiss hopes his fund-raising efforts will
bring about a faster time table in which residents of Dryden can enjoy a new
lift, “…I talked it over with a friend that was behind me all the way on this
project and we’re here.”
The City of Dryden’s Human
Resources Project Coordinator, Colleen Brosseau believes collaborative efforts
such as Weiss, is welcome news, “I am pleased to hear that there is someone
from the public who would like to raise money for a pool lift. The City is
working hard to look at all of its facilities and services to identify barriers
and seek opportunities to eliminate them.”
Weiss wishes that the identity of
his supporter to remain anonymous for the time being. Funding efforts would be
made in a form a cheque. As well Weiss explained that there will be discussions
made between himself and a member of the Dryden council to make all council
members aware of what Jacklin and Weiss are trying to actualize. In addition,
quotes for the necessary equipment needs to be done prior to identifying proper
time-lines for the desired project.
Thunder Bay Community Living is a
trust which Weiss hopes can provide long term funding, “It’s specifically
designed for the inclusion of all disabled individuals. Not only the physically
disabled but the intellectually disabled as well.” Weiss did not deny he misses
home. Currently living in Thunder Bay, and serving on the Board of Directors of
HAGI; he admits that finding the proper level of care and accessibility in
Northwestern Ontario to be dismal. Raising funds for a portable chair lift for
the main pool in Dryden would not only assist persons with disabilities living
in the Dryden area; it would bring a community together.
“It’s an interesting situation to
say the least,” commented Weiss, “This includes all multi-disabled aspects
including our aging population with mobility issues, and trying to get everyone
more involved within their community activities.”
Jacklin described it succinctly,
“Buoyancy is a great equalizer.”