Hi, motivational speaker Tim here… I know most people wouldn’t be doing this: speaking in front of a crowd. I just want to share an idea… I know this idea will involve everyone some day.
So, listen up… we will all age, like fine wine, it’s inevitable, one day we’ll all get old. “Health Canada” says by the time a typical Canadian reaches the ripe old age of 85, six out of ten of us will have a mobility issue or have to use a wheelchair. Edmonton’s city intersections, sidewalks, and sidewalk ramps are not in the best of conditions. Imagine that you break you leg tomorrow, and have to use a wheelchair to get around. So now you’ve lost your ability to drive. That morning you want to go get your caffeine fix from the McDonald’s that’s down the street from you. First you need to get out of your building. Hopefully your building has an elevator, but a lot of older buildings don’t, so for the sake of this metaphor, let’s assume you live on the second floor, so now you need to figure out how to get yourself and the wheelchair down to the main floor. So now you’re on the main floor, and find yourself struggling to open the main door, since it’s an older building, and it’s not a power operated door. Now you’re outside, but maybe there’s another step – or not, maybe you get lucky. Let’s imagine the sidewalk to get to McDonalds: there’s probably a ton of cracks or maybe there’s a chunk missing all together. So, while you’re weaving and dodging these, Now you enter into the wonderful McDonald’s. You probably never noticed before, but now you notice that it’s an incredibly steep entrance. So, you make it through door and somehow have to squeeze yourself through the second door while avoiding while it opens. Congrands you’ve now earned your coffee. Now I would like to ask you if you imagined all of this when it was summer. Now think about it if it were winter. Now this was a really extreme scenario but this is the reality for a lot of people. This would be things like parents pushing baby strollers, people with mobility issues, visual impairments, and as I have mentioned, people who use walking aids or wheelchairs like myself. Being in this position, I see many of these problems daily, and it greatly affects the quality of life for a lot of people. We can’t stop seasonal erosion but we can be mindful about accessibility: like shoveling walkways in the winter, reporting to bylaw about sidewalk damage, being courteous in parking lots, and so on.