Over the past month, you may have noticed some construction underway behind the Comox Valley Child Development Association on 3rd Street, downtown Courtenay. Phase 1 of the Accessibility Project is coming to fruition. When all phases are complete, the main parking lot and entry ways will be much more accessible.
The CVCDA continually strives to provide physical locations for their services that are not only welcoming but inclusive to all who utilize them. The upper and lower ramps were deteriorating, and considered dangerously steep for those using wheelchairs. They were unsafe, and in some instances would damage wheelchairs.
So far, phase one has seen the lower accessible ramp excavated to make room for the new and improved upgrade. The new ramps will have a friendlier slope for all who use them. They will be wider, and provide more space at entry ways for maneuvring in and out.
The CVCDA’s Accessibility Project Fund came together through a number of supporters, including its very own 45th Children’s Telethon. Many businesses and the local Rotary clubs combined forces to support the project. Angela Zumbo of the Comox Valley Rotary Club is spearheading the Rotary’s collaboration in their support with both funds and people power.
“I’m so happy our Comox Valley, Comox and Courtenay clubs are joining forces to improve accessibility at CVCDA,” said Zumbo, past-president of the Comox Valley Rotary Club. “We were inspired to take on this Rotary project because it aligns perfectly with our goals to help vulnerable kids and families, and it also gives us the opportunity to really roll up our sleeves to make a difference for the Valley. The current wheelchair ramp is pretty treacherous – it’s a serious challenge for folks today. I’m excited for the new design to get built to see the positive impact in our community and support the CVCDA.”
Additionally, funding has come through a variety of grants. The Rick Hanson Foundation BC Accessibility Grants program provided $20,000.
“We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Rick Hansen Foundation, and the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation,” said Cindy Xavier, CVCDA executive director.
The remainder was a $24,500 grant received through Community Living BC.
Lacasse Construction, led by owner Cale Lacasse, is once again supporting the CVCDA through all phases of construction, as it’s done on many past building projects. Lacasse has brought a team of supporting contractors to the job, including Edgett Excavating, Valley Creative Concrete, Dalron Home Improvements and Cumberland Ready Mix.
The CVCDA hired architect Phillipa Atwood to create the exterior building and ramp designs to complement her existing Comox Valley Autism Centre design, located adjacent to the courtyard.
Phase 1 will be complete this month. The CVCDA will continue with the remaining phases, including the upper ramp and parking lot, to be completed by end of summer.
Follow the project at www.cvcda.ca
The non-profit Comox Valley Child Development Association has been supporting children with special needs and their families for 45 years. In 2021, over 1,000 children and their families used CVCDA services.