Nanaimo councillor calls for disability representation on transportation committee

NANAIMO – Coun. Diane Brennan wants cycling and disabled community to have more input on transportation issues.

A Nanaimo city councillor is calling for the cycling and disabled community to have direct input into how this city is mapped for movement.

Coun. Diane Brennan plans to propose council ask for a staff report on ways to ensure Nanaimo’s Planning and Transportation Advisory Committee has a clear and in-depth understanding of accessibility issues and solutions, including dedicated seats for representatives of the cycling and disability communities.

Brennan says the hope is to have a source of advice and consultation from cyclists and mobile-device users on what makes them feel safe.

“We need to know what we are constructing feels safe to people who are in wheelchairs because those of us who aren’t, don’t get the same perspective,” said Brennan.

Nanaimo’s Terry Wiens, who’s been in a wheelchair for 20 years, agrees the committee needs someone from the disability community at the table. He said the goal would be to make the city more accessible and attractive to tourism. Cruises, for example, are ideal for people with disabilities, he said, but he wouldn’t want to stop in Nanaimo because it’s not wheelchair-friendly.

The motion is expected to be made at the Feb. 22 committee of the whole meeting.