Eight stairs up to the Canadian Cancer Society office in Penticton are causing big problems for some clients.

Eight stairs up to the Canadian Cancer Society office in Penticton are causing big problems for some clients.

Cancer Society down on Penticton landlord

Non-profit still waiting for lift for disable clients it says it was promised years ago

Frustration is growing at the Canadian Cancer Society office in Penticton due to a delay in getting a new lift installed to help clients access services.

The office in downtown Penticton can only be reached by traversing eight stairs leading up from the sidewalk. While that climb isn’t a problem for most people, it is for some.

“When people are experiencing chemotherapy, it’s very, very draining and difficult to maneuver, so it’s not just the wheelchairs” that have trouble with the stairs, said Randene Wejr, regional director for the Canadian Cancer Society in the B.C. Southern Interior.

Her predecessor signed a five-year lease for a unit at 166 Main St. in 2011 and at that time received a verbal commitment from the building owner to install a lift, Wejr said.

“In that time, I’ve had numerous conversations with the landlord and they’ve told us over and over again they have a lift ordered and it should be here anytime, and then it never shows up,” she explained.

“It’s not a huge controversy, per se. We would just like to have accessibility for our clients or get out of the lease, because it was a verbal agreement with the landlord.”

Wejr said the current setup has seen at least one client, who visited the office to borrow a wig, fitted on the sidewalk where “lack of confidentiality is a huge issue.”

Eric Paakspuu, one of the building owners, confirmed he’s working to get a lift in place, but has had difficulty finding a model that can be attached to the building’s exterior.

He said a lift has been purchased from a manufacturer in Alberta and should be on its way here soon.

“It’s not that we’ve forgotten about it,” Paakspuu said.

“We have put the money aside, we have chosen the unit, we just haven’t got it here.”

Paakspuu would not, however, commit to letting the Cancer Society out of its lease early.

“We have every expectation of them continuing the lease, but we’d obviously like to live up to our part of the bargain,” he said.