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The Hamilton Library Tool Ramp Project:  Making Accessibility Universal in Hamilton, Ontario
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The Hamilton Library Tool Ramp Project: Making Accessibility Universal in Hamilton, Ontario

Do some businesses and public service offices need a new ramp? You bet! Many in the city of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, were not equipped with one. Therefore, when the Hamilton Tool Library started a new project to help these ramp-less locations build one at a low cost, the city cheered and decided to give a hand. The Hamilton Winterfest is their partner and they are doing this across the city.

The first portion of the project already took place from February 14 to 16, 2015. Volunteers and project coordinators got together and set up a dozen of these much-needed ramps. The cost was $25 per ramp and the volunteers were offered some hot beverages to keep them nice and warm during this freezing cold period of the year where they had to be outside.

Now, if there is enough demand for it, the Hamilton Tool Library will host yet another round of ramp building. This will take place during April. So, to those who wish to either sign up to become a volunteer or order a ramp, you can send a message here.

Their original goal was to build a total of 250 ramps. However, during their February campaign, they built only 12. This number is easy to increase since there are quite a lot of businesses – some downtown, amongst other locations – that could use a ramp. The low cost was meant to encourage several stores and restaurants to become accessible to wheelchair users and people with mobility needs. The province of Ontario, Canada, will be passing a legislation to require all buildings to be fully accessible by the year 2025. So, the businesses will need to take action anyways, so why not take advantage of the economical ramps? For the time being, the possibility that the ramp will take up a part of the sidewalk space worries them. But, since the province will require them to have one, they will need to put it somewhere. And they have 10 years to figure it out.

However, the outpour of love coming from volunteers exceeded expectations. There were several who signed up to donate their time to the cause, including an entire amateur hockey team.

A solution to the problem of the sidewalk being taken up can be solved by making the ramp removable and taking it inside when it is not needed. Furthermore, to put it to even better use, it can be taken out for those who have strollers, for pregnant women and the elderly, and even delivery people.

Although the response was much smaller than they anticipated, they are optimistic about the project. They believe that the first 12 who signed up have their ramps will build momentum. Other businesses will take notice and want one, too.

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