Penticton’s access program unfair to disabled

Disabled required to produce documents proving a disability in order to receive discount to city recreation facilities

I’m very disappointed with the access pass program for the disabled that the City of Penticton recently adopted. I know many disabled people myself included, who do not qualify according to the application process.

Many disabled people do not collect welfare or other pensions but chose to look after themselves, most are not under the care of a group or an association that can vouch for their status.

I’ve been in a wheelchair for over 30 years and am known to city staff. In the past I served on the city’s committee for the disabled and I co-own a taxpaying property in Penticton, yet I do not qualify for the access pass.

The funny thing is that I have an access pass for the H20 Centre in Kelowna that gives me a 70 per cent discount. The H20 only required a quick interview with a person responsible for membership and is done without an appointment.

The Parkinson Centre operated by the City of Kelowna also has an access pass program for the disabled. To be fair, they do require documentation and an interview, however, they offer a six-month membership for less than $50, not just a miserly 25 per cent discount offered by the City of Penticton.

Seniors, and deservedly so, are given a discount with minimal proof of age, yet a disabled person must, if he can, produces sensitive confidential documents as proof of disability. Does the City of Penticton honestly believe that a person is going to cut off a leg or sit in a wheelchair for 30 years so they can get a 25 per cent discount on a swim pass?

The way it stands now a senior can stroll in, regardless of income, show a driver’s licence and immediately receive a discount. Whereas a disabled person has to fill out a form, collect and produce private and sensitive information and then wait for an unknown length of time to find out if they qualify for a discount.

Can you imagine the outrage if a senior had to go through a similar process before being given a discount?

The City of Penticton should re-think how they treat people with physical disabilities. Not all disabled people are on the dole or under the care of Work Safe B.C. or some other organization. Many of us are paying our own way and just getting by.

Mark Peeren

 

Naramata