The Canadian Paraplegic Association of Prince Edward Island and a Charlottetown city councillor say it’s time the city fixes wheelchair access issues at the Confederation Centre Library.
Councillor Danny Redmond said the elevator is too small and needs to be replaced.
"To be honest, it was so outdated that I couldn’t believe it," he said. "The city has a responsibility here to look at this. It’s a public library."
Redmond recently brought the issue to the city’s disability advisory committee. His concerns were backed by the Canadian Paraplegic Association.
"It needs to be replaced," said Paul Cudmore, executive director of the group. "Anyone with a rear wheel drive power chair, or a wide manual chair, or a scooter cannot access it."
Cudmore estimates 70 per cent of people in wheelchairs have a hard time accessing the second floor of the library.
"My front wheel got caught on the wall and I didn’t have enough room," he said of his own experience trying to get his wheelchair onto the elevator. "Because it took me more than five seconds to get in, the door slammed on my wheel."
One wing of the library, which holds resources for people learning a language, has no elevator and is inaccessible for people in wheelchairs.
Building manager agrees
The elevator was built 50 years ago.
Mike Cochrane, who is the operations manager at Confederation Centre, said they have been working on this idea for about six years.
The facility has concept drawings to do the upgrades. They’ve also consulted engineers, but Cochrane said the work can’t go ahead without funding.
He estimated the new elevator would run $3 million because it would require a complete renovation to the entrance of the library.
The provincial government has said it will offer some financial support.