Ottawa’s new $10 million car lift, which provides lift and parking to disabled people and the elderly, is being hailed as the city’s first step in addressing the citys homelessness crisis.
The city launched a campaign earlier this month calling on Canadians to help lift people with wheelchairs from the cityscape, and to find new ways to accommodate people with disabilities.
The new lift was unveiled Tuesday at a ribbon cutting ceremony, and will be available to people with special needs who can’t drive or walk.
The city says it will also provide lift and storage for the elderly.
“We need people with mobility issues to be able to access services in their communities,” said Jennifer Lantz, Ottawa’s executive director of community partnerships and policy, at the ceremony.
“For us to have a positive impact, we have to have accessibility.”
“It’s not just accessibility, it’s mobility and we have a very low rate of mobility,” said Lantz.
“So, the car lift is going to make a real difference.”
Lantz said the city is also developing a mobile car lift for those with mobility difficulties, which will be launched next week.
The goal is to have accessible car lifts for everyone in Ottawa by 2020.
“So we’ve done a lot of work in our community, to make it accessible for the disabled,” said Mayor Jim Watson.
“I’m hoping that people will feel like it’s their right to lift a wheel chair and have it transported to their place of work or their home or whatever.”
The lift is available to those with disabilities and people who have been designated as a priority by the Ottawa Department of Health.
The wheelchair and mobility device are not required.
The car lift’s wheelchair-accessible parking spots are on the south side of the Rideau Canal, next to the Rideway and at the intersection of Queen Street West and Parliament Street.
“It will be a great thing for the people of Ottawa, for the businesses of Ottawa and the community,” said Watson.
The City of Ottawa says it has more than 25,000 people with physical disabilities, and that the number of people with disability in the city has increased by more than half over the past decade.
“The car lifts are going to help those people,” said Wanda Lantz of the city.
“It’s going to be an extra little extra touch to the city.”
The City will also host a launch party for the lift and wheelchair parking on April 19 at the Ottawa Theatre.
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