The Board, indeed the whole congregation, continues to be deeply disappointed by the fact that our downstairs hall is not accessible to all. We would like to bring you up to date on progress to correct this issue.
As you know we have been trying to limp along with the unreliable stair lift for some time, but a test a few weeks ago left the lift immobilized at the bottom of the stairs. Given the increasing failures, Beth Israel have decided, with complete agreement from UFP, that there is no point in trying to revive the lift and no point in ever trying to use it again under any circumstances. So effectively it is out of commission and will remain so until it is removed and replaced by a more reliable system.
Now the good news …
UFP & Beth Israel together have been actively preparing to replace the stair lift for quite some time so this failure does not catch us unprepared, it merely heightens the urgency. Here are the concrete actions now under way.
A team from both congregations is working with a consultant to prepare a grant application to the Ontario Trillium Foundation. The grant application covers much of the cost of an elevator and other accessibility improvements. It will be submitted at the end of May. Preliminary design work on an elevator and other accessibility issues is nearing completion. This will allow us to get cost estimates for inclusion in the grant application.
The Peterborough Council for Persons with Disabilities led a walk-through of the building last week. Their report will identify other ways in which we could improve building accessibility and will constitute part of a wish list for other changes that may be included in the grant application.
In spite of this we are at least six months away from a proper solution. In the meantime, be ‘tuned in’ to the needs of others, and help to make the space as accessible as possible for all. Be creative with short term solutions; this might mean bringing coffee upstairs and having conversation in the foyer, or planning to hold meetings upstairs rather than down.
And do be patient; try to envision the end result, a reliable elevator. We will continue to keep everyone informed as this important project progresses.
— Guy Hanchet , on behalf of the Board of Directors