Wheelchair viewing platform a new arena addition

The Thompson Regional Community Centre (TRCC) has now become wheelchair accessible in both the C.A Nesbitt arena and now the Gordon Beard arenas. On Nov. 7, Kristopher Blake, president of People First of Manitoba chapter and  its Thompson chapter, gave John Burrows, director of recreation, parks and culture for the city of Thompson, a thank you letter. “I gave John Burrows a thank you letter on behalf of the People First Thompson Chapter. The TRCC has built a wheelchair accessibility platform in the Gordon Beard Arena and we want to take the opportunity to say thank you to John and his crew at the Thompson Regional Community Centre.”

People First is a worldwide non-profit organization that that advocates for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Blake has been a strong advocate around Thompson in helping local businesses become accessible for all residents. 

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Burrows says a comment came forward two weeks ago about the arena not being accessible. “There was an individual, and her son played in the C.A Nesbitt all the time, and she was in a wheelchair and had no problems, he now plays in the Gordon Beard and she noticed she couldn’t see the games as well. So she made a request, a week later the ramp was built.”

The money for this project came out of the centre’s operational budget. Although the ramp was not budgeted for the TRCC keeps certain amounts available for projects just like this one. 

Blake says this is the second project the TRCC and People First have worked together on. “A couple of years ago, when the building got renovated we got together and got an elevator put into the C.A Nesbitt arena. This way people who have mobility issues have the access to the upper level of the rink to watch hockey and other events.”

The TRCC is continuing to improve the facility. “There are certain doorways that are still not perfect, so they are on the drawing board to get finished. In the C.A, a question came up that the railings are a little high for certain individuals and kids to see. What we would like to do is lower the railing, but what we need to do is make sure the railing meets code. There are structural issues we have to meet, which means it’s a big project,” says Burrows.

With the building of this new ramp Blake hopes more residents with mobility issues come out and put it to good use. “It’s a very proud accomplishment that the TRCC and People First have this relationship in terms of wheelchair accessibility. It looks like a wonderful platform. I encourage people with mobility issues to come down and enjoy some sports. We now can enjoy both arenas.”

Burrows says Blake and People First are helping make the city a better place for all residents. “We appreciate People First, and their input and their dedication to making all of our buildings in the city of Thompson wheelchair accessible.”

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