Senior ‘curbs’ problem with City of Victoria

Assisted living resident successfully lobbies City to improve access at Amica Douglas House

Doreen Burrows

Doreen Burrows feels a sense of satisfaction each time she steps out onto the curb of her assisted living residence in James Bay.

When the “tenacious” 85-year-old moved into the Amica Douglas House last year, she noticed the sidewalk curb height and subsequent green space made it difficult to exit from a taxi with her walker.

“I was struggling and I saw everyone else struggling,” Burrows said. “It seems people have been working for 10 years trying to fix this problem.”

After writing Mayor Dean Fortin and following up with a number of phone calls, the city’s engineering department eventually arrived to remedy the problem.

“There’s a fairly high percentage of users who are in wheelchairs there,” said Brad Dellebuur, Victoria transportation manager. “It just made sense.”

City engineers completed the work two months ago, but Mayor Dean Fortin will take part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony today (Aug. 22) and meet with Burrows and her fellow residents.

“It wasn’t such a big triumph,” Burrows said modestly. “I took it in hand and I wrote to the mayor and pointed out that 100 people live here.”

“I just think it’s great when a resident needs something done and she’s thinking of others, and it just happens,” said manager Sally Orr.

While Burrows has no plans to take on City Hall in the near future, she said she’s never shied away from standing up for others, reflecting on her storied career as a social worker.

“I’ve seen seniors have a much better voice over the past 40 years,” she said. “It’s no good whining, we have to do what we can to help one another in all phases of life.”

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