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The White Rock city council recently voted against funding an accessibility mat for the city’s pier, opting instead to explore grant options to cover the cost. The decision to wait for grant funding was made in order to alleviate the financial burden on White Rock taxpayers. The accessibility mat would make the pier walkway safer and more accessible, particularly for wheelchair users, as the current walkway planks can be uneven. Disability advocate Susan Bains has been advocating for the mat since 2021 and believes that the city should prioritize accessibility for those who need it the most. Despite supplying the council with a list of possible grants, the decision to wait for funding was met with disappointment from advocates like Bains and city councillor Ernie Klassen.

City councillor Elaine Cheung voted in favor of continuing to explore grant options for the mat, citing the significant cost of $115,000 for a small city like White Rock. However, the city’s decision to wait for grant funding may be further delayed by the need to hire a grant writer. This potential delay could impact the timeline for submitting grant applications and ultimately securing funding for the accessibility mat. Disability advocate Ryan Lachance, a White Rock resident, urged council members to prioritize the installation of the mat for the safety and accessibility of all pier visitors. Despite ongoing advocacy efforts, the decision to wait for grant funding reflects the city’s commitment to responsible financial management.

Mayor Megan Knight emphasized the council’s commitment to ensuring accessibility for all residents while also being fiscally responsible. The decision to explore grant options for funding the mat aligns with the city’s efforts to allocate resources effectively and minimize financial strain on taxpayers. While there is city money available for the mat, the council’s decision to wait for grant funding suggests a strategic approach to managing municipal finances. Accessibility advocate Susan Bains has launched an online petition to raise awareness about the importance of funding the accessibility mat and ensuring equal access for all pier visitors.

Overall, the decision to wait for grant funding for the White Rock Pier accessibility mat reflects the city council’s commitment to responsible financial management and equitable access for all residents. Advocates like Susan Bains and Ryan Lachance continue to push for the installation of the mat to improve safety and accessibility on the pier. The city council’s decision to explore grant options aligns with their efforts to prioritize the needs of residents while also being mindful of financial obligations. Moving forward, the council will continue to pursue grant opportunities for funding the accessibility mat, with the goal of making the White Rock Pier a more inclusive and accessible destination for all visitors.

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