Williams Lake Accessibility Advisory Committee chair Maureen Straza is an advocate for others after she experienced a spinal cord injury in 2014. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

‘Come On In’: New program aims to make Williams Lake businesses more accessible

Williams Lake Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC) is leading the project

A signage program is coming to Williams Lake for business owners to assist customers who may have accessibility issues.

Williams Lake Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC) chair Maureen Straza said the “Come On In” program provides stickers for the front window.

David Maitland, who has been a member of the ACC off and on for many years since its inception, brought the idea to the committee after working with a lifelong friend of his from the Delta area who created the program.

“Monica Burrows started it in November 2019 and within three months there were 120 stickers on various businesses in Ladner and Tsawwassen,” Maitland said, noting when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the program slowed down.

With the program business owners can select ways in which they can assist customers to access the venue by providing a phone number or using words such as ‘please knock,’ ‘ring doorbell,” on their sticker.

Maitland is in a wheelchair due to muscular dystrophy and said he has seen the stickers, utilized them and business owners have been very quick and happy to assist him.

City council endorsed the idea unanimously at the regular council meeting Tuesday, Feb. 23, after Straza gave a presentation.

She said the AAC received funding for the project through SparcBC that will cover the cost of the stickers.

“We also shared the program with the Downtown BIA and the chamber and the directors were very welcoming. We’d like to present it to their members, but with COVID we have not done that yet.”

Any businesses in Williams Lake that would like a sticker are asked to go through the city by calling 250-392-1772 or 250-392-1774.

Straza said some businesses have stairs and because she is in a wheelchair she cannot enter them.

During the pandemic, she’s often called ahead and the business owner has met her outside.

“It’ll be a win-win situation, not just for people with accessibility issues, but for business owners to have more business,” she said.

Maitland said the whole time he was helping Burrows with the program he was thinking how great it would be for Williams Lake.

“When I brought it to them, Maureen and her committee were on it right away.”

The stickers were created locally by Schickworks Signs and Stitches and are all ready to go. Stickers will come with an information brochure.

Read more: Tamara Bush appointed to Williams Lake Accessibility Advisory Committee


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