VFC moves to address accessibility

Accessibility urgency

The Valley Fitness Centre (VFC) is hoping to move to a new location, but the Valley Fitness Society board that runs the centre has realized they can’t put off their accessibility upgrades any longer.

A new facility could be three to five years away, said Teresa Rogal, president of the board, adding that the centre is seeking $32,500 to support its patrons until VFC has a long-term home.

While VFC is scouting out new locations, she said the improvements are needed: “to help our current accessibility in the meantime… (The upgrades are) becoming more and more important. It’s important today for the people who use it today.”

She hopes to install a push button for the entry door, widen the bathroom doors, add a sidewalk ramp and do some work to ease the sidewalk slope.

“The door is heavy, and we would like that to be completely easy,” she said. “We obviously have a lot of improvements to make.”

On Tuesday, April 23rd the District of Invermere recommended allocating $3,500 from the 2019 Columbia Basin Trust Community Initiative program toward making the current facility more accessible.

Ms. Rogal was delighted to hear about council’s decision and said the news was “absolutely, absolutely wonderful.”

Tanelle Bolt, who runs the Recreation Adapted Society and is on the VFS board, said that “accessibility is not cheap” but that it’s important to include everybody, especially when it comes to a place like a fitness centre that allows patrons to improve their health and wellness.

“Everybody is going to get old and everybody’s going to need accessibility,” she said. “You need to keep the injured and the aging in the gym.”

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