CHARLIE LAKE, B.C. – The Tse’K’wa Heritage Society continues its efforts to make the site more accessible for all visitors.

Spinal Cord Injury B.C. conducted an accessibility assessment of the property on Tuesday and will come back with recommendations for the society near the end of April.

The Tse’K’wa Heritage Society executive director, Alyssa Currie, says Spinal Cord B.C. is an ally and an expert in inclusion and accessibility.  She notes that society is also trying to incorporate accessibility as best as they can within their budget restrictions.

Nancy Harris, Spinal Cord Injury B.C’s regional development liaison, says the society’s work “really shines because they are looking at access and inclusion through this whole project, right from the start.”

“That’s the first approach, is realizing the importance, especially with elders, and their association to the land and their work,” said Harris.

She also believes this project is a great example of how other organizations or programs can become more accessible.

With building requirements always changing, the organization recommends best practices to stay ahead of the curve.

“We can’t wait for that. We have to keep moving forward on and what’s better,” Harris mentions.

As a part of the assessment, peer program coordinator Lori Slater notes the front entrance that may need to be moved.

“There were many discussions around where the best place would be for the entrance as we were working through the process we were looking at it,” said Slater.

The group of seven Spinal Cord B.C. employees have discussed making the front of the building the accessible entrance or the main doors to the building.

“Because of the lay of the land, there’s concrete out there. You’ve got a very minimal rise to get up to the top. And these are the kinds of things we go through with the assessment, and we’re talking with the contractors,” Slater notes.

Currie mentioned that the bathroom needed to be completed to meet their timelines, so Nancy joined by teleconference a few weeks ago to talk to the contracting team.

Slater adds that they don’t come in and demand it be a certain way. The report will note best practices and why they’re making that recommendation.

Slater worked in Fort St. John with accessibility and inclusion for 20 years. She says that if you’re not right there when someone is going through a project, accessibility isn’t top of mind.

The society is expected to receive the recommendations at the end of the month.