Community members angered by council’s decision on accessibility ramp

Written by Cheryl Bowman

Castor town council received four letters from members of the community requesting councillors change their decision in denying F.C. Hunt Agencies an encroachment on town property needed for a wheelchair accessibility ramp.

The letters were read during the regular council meeting on Feb. 27 with many community members present in council chambers.
The decision to deny the encroachment was made at a previous council meeting.

Council members listened as Town Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Donna Rowland and Mayor Richard Elhard read each of the letters out loud for everyone in attendance to hear.

A wide range of emotions and points were made and described with each.

“As a senior in the Town of Castor I am extremely angry and disheartened regarding the recent decision,” stated Beth Elhard.

“Rather than considering the welfare and interests of the citizens, the decision discriminates against a large number of them [seniors],” wrote Barbara Zimmerman.

In the letters, there was also a concern brought forward regarding the possible loss of the facility because of the denial of the ramp.

“It is important for our community to be able to keep this service here, but if it is not accessible to all do we run the risk of losing it to a bigger centre?” stated the Phillip and Shelly Pals letter.

Councillors made no comments regarding the letters but a motion was made to accept the correspondence as information and carried unanimously.

Library handicapped washroom
The library board made a request from council for approval to construct a handicap-accessible washroom. That approval is required before the library board can begin searching for a contractor.

To fund the project the library board is looking into the handicap accessibility grant and conducting fundraising, said Coun. Shawn Peach.
During discussion, some concerns were raised including whether clients attending adult learning would be allowed to use the handicapped-accessible bathroom.

“We would definitely want to make sure it is available to a handicapped individual in adult learning,” said Coun. Peach.
The motion to approve was carried unanimously.

Borrowing Bylaw
Council gave the first reading to the borrowing bylaw for $800,000 in the event Castor is unsuccessful in securing any grant funding for the arena ice plant.

“Ideally we should know about our grant funding before we have to borrow money,” said CAO Rowland.

The mayor noted the project is going ahead regardless of whether grant funding is approved or not.

“We are starting this project, we have to have funding, that is why this item is coming before you,” said Mayor Elhard.

Lodge vacancies
Councillors heard in a report that currently Paintearth Lodge has 22 vacancies, the largest number of vacancies the lodge has ever had.

In order to address the issue some marketing has been done promoting Castor and the lodge. As well members of the committee will be attending a trade show to get the word out.

“I truly believe in the lodge and we will get out of this,” said Coun. Trudy Kilner..

Spray park committee
Council approved the Spray Park committee members including Coun. Cecil Yates, Coun. Kevin McDougall, Tracy Bowen, Jacquie Baldwin, Sharmain Bucklaschuk, Sandy Shipton and CAO Rowland.

Sarah Baker
ECA Review

About the author

Cheryl Bowman

Cheryl spent most of her childhood in Stettler, growing up on a quarter section north of town. After graduating from Stettler Composite High School she moved to Calgary where she worked in various industries, attended The University of Calgary and raised a family.

She enjoyed volunteering and contributed in a variety of ways, such as writing articles for the Calgary Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre and covering charitable events as a photographer.

She moved back to Stettler in 2023 where she still has family.