Petition pushes for wheelchair access at Liard Hot Springs

A Fort Nelson resident has launched a petition to build a wheelchair ramp into the Liard Hot Springs.

Tanner Whidden is pushing the provincial government to install a ramp to make the popular pools open and accessible to all. Though Whidden grew up enjoying the hot springs, a recently won battle with spinal cord cancer means he now uses a wheelchair every day, and he hasn't been able to enjoy the pools since.

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"I have not returned to the Liard Hot springs since my injury because I know that there is no way for me to get safely down into the water," Whidden wrote in the petition.

Whidden is calling on the province to take immediate action, noting it failed to take accessibility into account when it spent $1 million on upgrades in 2015.

Between 10 to 15% of British Columbians live with a disability and roughly 300,000 tourists travel the Alaska Highway each year, Whidden noted. "If we only take 10% of that, that's 30,000 people who can not access the water," he wrote.

"Access and accessibility is not something that needs to be taken lightly. The Provincial Government has a duty to provide this access with the same tax paying dollars that rebuilt the Hot Springs in 2015."

Whidden has collected nearly 1,500 signatures so far.

Read the petition by clicking here.

Email Managing Editor Matt Preprost at editor@ahnfsj.ca.

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