Summerside needs to make changes at Billy Bridges Park so that people in manual wheelchairs can use it, says a local parent.
Billy Bridges Park was redeveloped as an accessible playground in 2018. Bridges, who was born in Summerside, is a Paralympic gold medallist in the sport of sledge hockey, and has had a long and successful international playing career.
Christine Cameron lives in the same neighbourhood as the park. She has a son who has cerebral palsy and autism, and who uses a manual wheelchair. The park's equipment is excellent, Cameron said, but there's a problem.
"When we first took him there, there was mulch for the surface of the playground and it was very difficult to get his manual wheelchair through," she said.
City considering other materials
Cameron complained to the city and was told the material needed time to settle, and then the surface would become firmer. Four years later, she said it is no better.
"It's frustrating. There's just no need for this," she said.
Cameron said other parents have been posting about it on social media, and she recently joined them.
Coun. Cory Snow saw the post and he agrees something needs to be done.
The material was advertised for use on accessible playgrounds, he said, and the city was told that the material would pack down and be appropriate for wheels. But since that's not the case, they are now looking at other options.
"It's not as user-friendly as we would have hoped, and we're looking at other materials and costs associated with it [so] that we might be able to rectify the issue," said Snow.
"We don't want to have an accessible park that's not accessible to everybody."