2016 Re-emergence of Common Sense?

I can’t believe we are almost two weeks into 2016 already.  I am becoming increasingly convinced in that old belief that time does speed up as you get older.  However it isn’t my intention to provide a lay-persons perspective of Einstein’s theories on the speed of time so I will get on with my purpose of the day.  So thanks for coming back, big addition coming in the next six weeks when it looks like I will have my own hour long radio talk show.  I will keep you informed on how that moves along but now onto the topic at hand #access…

I deal with BMO and one of the only two @BMO branches in Nanaimo (and they don’t even have a drive through) is about an 8 minute drive north for me.  Right beside it is a large dollar store called Dollar Tree.  I had never been there before but there were a few things I knew I could probably find there.  That way I could kill two birds with one stone while minimizing the transferring of my chair in and out of the car.  Imagine my surprise when I approach this store (it was a Sunday morning and very quiet) and discover no automatic door opener.  I doubt the building is more than twenty years old so it shouldn’t be exempt from any current building standards (historic site, that kind of thing) and those standards require automatic door openers.

New buildings ignoring wheelchair access standards
New buildings ignoring wheelchair access standards

The entrance was build on a small grade which meant holding your wheelchair in place while you pulled a heavy double door backwards.  Once you got through the doors you find yourself in what was probably meant to be a small foray but in reality is a cramped storage area.  Once you make your way past that, only about twenty-five feet, you come to another set of heavy doors.  It is not that the doors were really heavy as much as it was the spring on the doors were so tight.  I am a pretty strong guy (a lifetime of crutches builds a pretty good upper body) but I could see a lot of #seniors using walkers that would have problems with those doors, backing up trying to pull the door, steer the walker and maintain their balance sounds like a good recipe for an injurious incident.  I’m sorry but if Dollar Tree or any other business not adhering to standards can be ignored then I have to question how much checking our city planners are doing to ensure local compliance with building standards.

How much attention is being paid by our city planners when it comes to any businesses requiring permits?  Ultimately the responsibility to ensure compliance with the current policy and regulatory process lies with those issuing the permits (I don’t mean a clerk at the front desk), I mean the department that is verifying that all conditions have been met.  Why do we bother to create universal standards if the oversight process isn’t going to be followed?  If we can’t depend on common sense then we need to know the oversight conditions are working and right now it doesn’t look like they are.

With all of that said, if we want cheaper taxes then we all have to start using some common sense.  We shouldn’t need regulations, for example, to understand the benefits of having the disabled parking spots at an apartment with the covered ones.  It’s the little things where you think common sense would prevail.  It’s not rocket science but it does take everyone speaking up.  I have been pushing access for almost fifty years and now I’m ready to retire.  I’ve really become an irritant to many but now that I discover we can’t get a simple automatic door opener on a business designed to compliment the needs of the low income, well maybe it’s a good thing I didn’t take up golf as a retirement practice…

This is why one gets lost in thought...
This is why one gets lost in thought…

And here’s a little heads up for you.  Don’t ever, when you’ve transferred into your car but the wheelchair is outside the car and some good looking young creature approaches you with her shopping cart and asks if she can give you a hand.  The word “zipper” in any context does not work out well.  That takes a very highly honed sense of humour not shared by many…

Thanks for sticking around, catch you next time…


2 thoughts on “2016 Re-emergence of Common Sense?

  1. Good job on this one Terry. In some cities the development permit is left open until the contractor completes the deficiencies in the building and a bond is held by the city. The held portion of the bond might be less than the cost of automatic door openers so they never get installed. It takes about two hours for a technician to retrofit the switch and the opener to any exterior door. Enjoying the zippy humour too. KJC

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