Calgarian with mobility issues disappointed city is not taking accessibility in neighbourhoods seriously

CTV News spoke to Llano Gorman last June when he said he had reached out to the city and area councillor to request more wheelchair ramps be added to sidewalks. One year later, he says nothing has changed.

Llano Gorman uses an electric scooter to get around but says everyday tasks are tough to do in his southwest neighbourhood Glendale Meadows because it isn't fully accessible for people with mobility issues. 

“I still cannot get from here to my pharmacy or to the place that I go grocery shopping.”

Gorman said he is often forced to ride on the street.

CTV News spoke to Gorman last June when he said he had reached out to the city and area councillor to request more wheelchair ramps be added to sidewalks. One year later, he says nothing has changed.

“They refuse to fix these small things through the neighbourhoods until it’s time to fix the whole area.”

Gorman wants to see the city prioritize the smaller projects across the city which could have a big impact for disabled Calgarians.

“I would like the city to take responsibility and start doing the menial things that need to be done in the city instead of these really fancy-dance projects that they have going, because those are billions of dollars,” said Gorman.

NUMEROUS REQUESTS

The Glenbrook Community Association has also put in numerous requests to the city.

“What we have in the community right now is a very disjointed, disconnected network for anyone that needs to use ramps, especially for mobility issues,” said Murray Ost, president, Glenbrook community association.

“We get a lot of the same communication back to us, it’s either a budget issue or a time issue, and it does not seem to be a priority within the City of Calgary to get these items done.”

Ost said when there are new redevelopments, then sidewalks are updated but can’t recall seeing an older sidewalk updated recently.

“They’ll do a couple ramps in certain intersections one year, might be a couple years and they’ll do a couple again.”

Murray said he would like to see a more proactive approach and plan from the city.

MONEY IN BUDGET

Last June, the city said there was money in the capital budget to construct new wheelchair ramps in 2020.

A city spokesperson said an updated number on how many were constructed or how much money was used wouldn’t be available to provide CTV until next week.

Ward  6 councillor Jeff Davison said he has heard concerns about accessibility issues.

“Looking at a plan going forward one of the challenges we have to truly strive to make Calgary one of the most accessible municipalities across North America," he said. "We’ve got to plan better to do that.”

Davison said requests that come in for wheelchair ramps are evaluated.

“We have quite a backlog across the city as you can imagine of areas where we have a great need for mobility improvements and so we tend to let administration put that in a process by which they go out, evaluate it and get the work done, but we only have so many people,” said Davison.

The city said any requests for a ramp on a street corner or a marked crosswalk that fall outside of the annual program will be actioned on a priority basis, budget permitting.

“The city will also review wheelchair ramp requests on public property in front of a private residence or business. If approved, the property owner will be solely responsible for the construction and installation costs of these wheelchair ramps."