Sign up for our free weekday bulletin.

Woman’s rainstorm dilemma gave rise to creative outlet

Published on

Tara Jeffrey

Sarnia-Lambton’s trend setting use of charge stations for power wheelchairs and scooters was born out of a rainstorm last summer.

So says Dale Mosley, the city’s accessibility coordinator, recalling the day he approached an elderly woman pushing her power scooter outside City Hall.

“It was one of those rainstorms that came out of nowhere, and I asked where she was going and if she needed any help,” said Mosley, noting the rain caused the battery in her scooter to die.

He offered to bring her into the building to charge up, but she was hesitant.

“She said, ‘I can’t go in there; they’ll think I’m stealing electricity.’”

Mosley convinced her to come inside and re-charge, and that’s when a light bulb went off.

“I started thinking, if people are nervous to come into places like City Hall to plug in when it’s an emergency like that, how do we get that not to happen? And also, is this an issue in the community?

“It seems like this happens fairly often.”

The pilot project was launched following discussions with Sarnia and Lambton County’s Accessibility Advisory Committees.

“We came up with locations, logos and signs, and it went from there” he said.

In total, 12 charge stations have been installed at: Bayside Centre, Bright’s Grove Library, Canatara Park, Centennial Park, Germain Park, Lambton Public Health, Lambton Shared Services Centre, Mallroad Library, Sarnia City Hall, Sarnia Library, the Strangway Centre and Tecumseh Park.

The power is free but users must provide their own adapters.

The project will be evaluated later in the year with hopes of expanding to more locations.

“We plan on putting them in all parks, eventually,” said Mosley. “And we’re hoping the private sector, and local not-for-profits, etc. get on board too.”

The project is featured on the AMCTO (Association of Municipal Managers, Clerks and Treasurers of Ontario) website, and a video is available online (https://vimeo.com/182698134). An interactive map is also available on the City of Sarnia’s website.

As least one other city is interested in copying Sarnia’s model, Mosley said.

“I think we are the only municipality in Ontario — that I know of — doing something like this.”

For more, contact Dale Mosley, Accessibility Coordinator, at 519-332-0330, ext. 3307 or [email protected]

 

More like this